The Prime Minister’s former director of communications James Slack has said he wants to “apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused” by a Downing Street party.

Reports in The Telegraph suggest advisers and civil servants gathered after work for two separate events on April 16, 2021 - the night before Prince Philip's funeral.

The two parties were held to mark the departures of James Slack, Mr Johnson’s former director of communications, and one of the PM’s personal photographers, from Downing Street.

Now Mr Slack has admitted his leaving-do “should not have happened at the time that it did”.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: 'Double Downing Street party' night before Queen buried Prince Philip. (PA)'Double Downing Street party' night before Queen buried Prince Philip. (PA)

Two more alleged Downing Street parties

The lockdown-breaking double Downing Street party is alleged to have taken place the night before the funeral for Prince Philip, according to The Telegraph.

Downing Street staff drank alcohol into the early hours the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, The Telegraph reports.

Hours later the nation watched as Her Majesty sat alone for her late husband's funeral in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

The Telegraph cited a No 10 spokesperson as saying Mr Johnson was not in Downing Street that day. He is said to have been at Chequers.

James Slack left No 10 to become deputy editor-in-chief at The Sun.

In an emailed statement issued by The Sun’s publisher News UK, Mr Slack said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused. This event should not have happened at the time that it did. I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility.”

Restrictions on April 16, 2021

The country was in the midst of a lockdown roadmap with indoor mixing prohibited meaning just 30 mourners could attend the celebration of life for the longest-serving consort in British history.

Will Boris Johnson resign?

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson amid fresh allegations that two further Downing Street parties were held while coronavirus restrictions were in place, the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: The Prime Minister's former director of communications James Slack who has apologised for the "anger and hurt" caused by a leaving party held in Downing Street the night before the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral. Photo via PA.The Prime Minister's former director of communications James Slack who has apologised for the "anger and hurt" caused by a leaving party held in Downing Street the night before the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral. Photo via PA.

The events were held in April last year, while the country was in a period of national mourning, it was reported. The Prime Minister was said to have been away from Downing Street at the time.

The Queen attended the funeral of Philip, her husband of 74 years, wearing a face mark and socially distanced from her family at Windsor Castle in line with Covid restrictions.

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “The Queen sitting alone, mourning the loss of her husband, was the defining image of lockdown. Not because she is the Queen, but because she was just another person, mourning alone like too many others.

“Whilst she mourned, Number 10 partied. Johnson must go.”

His comments were echoed by Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, who wrote on Twitter: “The Queen sat alone in mourning like so many did at the time with personal trauma & sacrifice to keep to the rules in the national interest.

“I have no words for the culture & behaviours at number 10 and the buck stops with the PM.”

Fran Hall, from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: “If your neighbours had behaved like this, you’d have been disgusted. For the people running the country to do it and then lie about it, shows a complete disdain for the general public.

“We shared the same pain of grieving in isolation as the Queen did. And she must be just as sickened as we are at hearing this. Sadly, instead of doing the decent thing and resigning, we can expect the Prime Minister to continue shamefully lying to our faces.

“The Conservative MPs that are keeping him in power disgrace their country.”

The news came as Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, was the latest to publicly announce he had submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister on Thursday night.

He was the fifth MP to say he had written to Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, calling for a vote on the PM’s future as head of the party.

Mr Bridgen told BBC Newsnight: “With a heavy heart, I have written a letter to Sir Graham Brady indicating that I have no confidence in the Prime Minister and calling for a leadership election.”

The Telegraph reported that as many as 30 letters have been submitted so far. A total of 54 are needed to trigger a vote.

A blow was also landed on the PM from the Sutton Coldfield Conservatives, an association in a safe Tory seat, which reportedly passed a motion calling for Mr Johnson to stand down.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Undated handout photo issued by GOV.UK of Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who will take over from Cabinet Secretary Simon Case who has "recused himself" from leading the investigation. Undated handout photo issued by GOV.UK of Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who will take over from Cabinet Secretary Simon Case who has "recused himself" from leading the investigation.

In a rare ray of hope for the Prime Minister, it was reported that an inquiry into alleged lockdown-busting events by senior official Sue Gray was expected to find no evidence of criminality.

However The Times reported that the investigation could censure Mr Johnson for a lack of judgment.

The newspaper said Ms Gray was expected to avoid concluding whether the PM breached the ministerial code, as this would fall outside her remit.

But she is set criticise the culture in Downing Street, it said.

Ms Gray is examining a series of parties and gatherings held in No 10 and Whitehall in 2020 while coronavirus restrictions were in force.