0729 GMT January 20, 2022
Revelations that Johnson and Downing Street staff breached restrictions at the height of Britain’s coronavirus lockdown have enraged the public, who were forced to abide by rules that prevented them from visiting sick and dying loved ones or attending funerals, according to AFP.
The scandal deepened Friday as the conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph published an exclusive claiming Johnson’s staff held a party just hours before the socially distanced funeral of Prince Philip in April 2021.
The image of Queen Elizabeth sitting alone in church at her late husband’s memorial service was one of the starkest images of Britain under lockdown.
Most cabinet members have rallied around Johnson after his mea culpa, but the backing from potential successors such as powerful Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has been distinctly lukewarm.
While expressing “heartfelt apologies”, Johnson sparked ridicule this week by saying he had believed a May 2020 gathering in the Downing Street garden — at which more than 100 people gathered — was a work event.
He urged all sides to await the findings of an internal inquiry.