Boris Johnson’s former communications chief apologized “unreservedly” on Friday for a lockdown-breaching celebration in Downing Road final yr – the newest in a string of rule-breaking social occasions which are threatening to topple the British prime minister.

James Slack mentioned his April 2021 job-leaving celebration “mustn’t have occurred on the time that it did.”

“I want to apologize unreservedly for the anger and damage induced,” Slack mentioned in a press release.

“I’m deeply sorry, and take full accountability,” added Slack, who left the federal government final yr and is now deputy editor-in-chief of tabloid newspaper The Solar.

Johnson will not be alleged to have attended the leaving celebration, disclosed by the Day by day Telegraph newspaper. The prime minister apologized this week for going to a different gathering within the backyard of Downing Road, his workplace and residential, in Could 2020, when the U.Ok. was below strict lockdown.

The most recent celebration has appalled many in Britain due to the symbolism of its timing – April 16, 2021, the evening earlier than the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip.

The Day by day Telegraph mentioned Downing Road employees drank, danced and socialized at leaving events for Slack and one other employees member on April 16 final yr. The subsequent day, the widowed queen sat alone within the church throughout her husband’s funeral service in an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines that barred indoor mixing.

Pictures of the monarch, clad in black and carrying a face masks, turned a robust picture of the isolation and sacrifice endured by many through the pandemic.

Members of Johnson’s Conservative authorities have expressed assist for Johnson following his admission on Wednesday that he attended a “deliver your individual booze” employees celebration within the backyard of his Downing Road workplace in Could 2020.

On the time Britons had been banned by legislation from assembly multiple individual exterior their households as a part of measures to curb the unfold of the coronavirus. Tens of millions had been minimize off from household and mates, and even barred from visiting dying family in hospitals.

The most recent revelations are more likely to immediate extra Conservatives to affix opponents and demanding that Johnson resign for flouting the principles the federal government imposed on the nation because the coronavirus swept the U.Ok.

Johnson mentioned he understood public “rage,” however stopped wanting admitting wrongdoing, saying he had thought-about the gathering a piece occasion to thank employees for his or her efforts through the pandemic.

Johnson urged individuals to await the conclusions of an investigation by senior civil servant Sue Grey into a number of alleged rule-breaking events by authorities employees through the pandemic. Grey, a public service veteran with a repute as a straight-shooter, is predicted to report by the top of the month.

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