UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire again after a new revelation that Downing Street staff held a series of parties the night before Prince Philip’s funeral and during lockdown restrictions in the UK.
Revealing the secret party, The Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that No. 10 Downing Street had hosted about 30 people in its basement and garden on April 16, as a period of national mourning was observed in the UK.
The event took place at a time when people were not allowed to socialize in enclosed spaces, except for members of support bubbles who could come together at open air gardens with no more than 6 participants.
A spokesman from the PM’s office said that Johnson himself had been away at the time, staying at his mansion outside London.
According to the report, the party lasted until well after midnight and the participants were drunk enough to break a swing used by the prime minister’s young son.
The day after the party, a funeral procession was held for Prince Philip. Queen Elizabeth’s husband of 73 years.
The new revelation comes on the heels of another report on Wednesday about government staff having attended another party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020. Public anger forced Johnson to apologize and admit that he also attended that gathering.
“I know the rage they feel with me over the government I lead when they think that in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules,” he told the House of Commons during the weekly prime minister’s questions session on Thursday.
Johnson is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership, with opponents calling for his resignation and casting him as a charlatan who demanded that the British people follow some of the most onerous rules in peacetime history while he and his own staff partied behind closed doors.
A growing number of MPs in Johnson’s own Conservative Party are also calling on the prime minister to resign, fearing that his premiership will do lasting damage to the Conservative party’s electoral prospects.
“Sadly, the Prime Minister’s position has become untenable,” said Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, a former Johnson supporter. “The time is right to leave the stage.”
To trigger a leadership challenge, 54 of the 360 Conservative MPs must submit letters of no-confidence to the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee. According to The Telegraph, as many as 30 no-confidence letters have been submitted so far.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday that “real mistakes” had been made, but “we need to look at the overall position we’re in as a country, the fact that he (Johnson) has delivered Brexit, that we are recovering from COVID-19… He has apologized.”
Those comments come as the UK registered 109,133 new daily infections and 335 deaths on Thursday alone.