James O'Brien's damning verdict on No10 staff holding parties while Queen mourned

14 January 2022, 12:55

By Amelia Isaacs

This was James O'Brien's damning verdict of parties held at No10 while the Queen mourned Prince Philip.

The monologue comes as Boris Johnson faces calls to resign after reports that two parties were held by No 10 staff the night before the Monarch attended her husband's funeral alone.

On Friday a spokesman for the Prime Minister said Downing Street had said sorry to the Palace following the reports.

The spokesman said: "It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning and No 10 has apologised to the Palace.

"You heard from the PM this week, he's recognised No 10 should be held to the highest standards and take responsibility for things we did not get right."

James reflected on what he called his "little list" of what he was not able to celebrate properly during the pandemic, saying he was incredibly lucky it is not longer.

Read more: No10 says sorry to the Queen after lockdown-breaking party night before Philip's funeral

James said: "You'll have a list as well, of the things you and your family couldn't do.

"I don't know what else was on the Queen's list. Her Majesty the Queen.

"I'm not a particular royalist but...I don't think you'll get a better Royal than the Queen. 

"The combination of what you call duty, someone else might call what's needed for survival.

"But if you look at the state of her son Andrew, the Queen is a pretty special person.

"And that photograph of the Queen at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral, and don't think of her as a bastion of privilege or as a figurehead of unfairness, think of her today as a wife, a widow, a mourning woman reduced to sitting alone in a corner of the abbey, socially-distanced from her nearest and dearest."

Read more: No10 staff held two boozy parties hours before Prince Philip's funeral

He asked listeners to contrast this image with that of Boris Johnson's staff partying.

James said: "Focus for a moment upon the idea of the seat of her government, No 10 Downing Street, in the small hours of that day, hosting parties that not only featured one advisor acting as a DJ and dancing but also allegedly involved one person going to a nearby co-op with a suitcase and smuggling bottles of wine back into Boris Johnson's Downing Street in, I imagine, a direct contravention of the law at the time."

Two of the alleged parties were leaving dos, one of which was for James Slack, Boris Johnson's then-director of communications and now Deputy Editor at The Sun. 

Mr Slack wrote the "despicable" and "utterly horrific" Daily Mail front page 'Enemies of the People'.

James said: "The Deputy Editor of The Sun was the subject of one of the parties which saw people smuggling wine into Downing St. and dancing in the small hours of the day upon which Her Majesty the Queen said goodbye to her husband in socially-distanced circumstances.

"So the self-appointed patriots, the liars, the ones who drape themselves in flags and claim that they care deeply about these intangible principles of pride that can be loosely filed under 'Rule Britannia',

"All of them today either come out and absolutely condemn what has happened and call for the ring leader, call for the organ grinder, to do what any decent person would probably have done last week, and walk away. Or, you render yourself a complete hypocrite."

James finished by noting the Queen's historic appeal. 

He said: "I think it's because the Queen, on this occasion, represents all of us.

"I saw the Queen sitting alone at her husband's funeral and I thought immediately of my friend, who we had to say goodbye to in ridiculously straightened circumstances.

"And they had a party the night before the Queen had to say goodbye to Prince Philip in similarly straightened circumstances." 

Read more: 'It was a work event': Boris sorry for attending No10 lockdown party but won't resign

Read more: Four days after party email, my dad died. I’ve missed him every day since

Lord O'Neill hails 'really cool' initiative for people to donate energy bill rebate to less fortunate

Lord O'Neill hails initiative for people to donate energy bill rebate to less fortunate

James O'Brien dissects 'baffling' US gun control opposition

James O'Brien dissects 'baffling' US gun control opposition

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'thinks he's the real victim' of Partygate

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'thinks he's the real victim' of Partygate

'I feel used!' Tearful veteran 'embarrassed' by Britain's Afghan withdrawal

'I feel used!': Tearful veteran 'embarrassed' by Britain's Afghan withdrawal

James O'Brien's 'astonishing' takedown of PM's Partygate misconduct

James O'Brien's 'astonishing' takedown of PM's Partygate misconduct

Boys at Rishi Sunak's school had 'no idea' about outside world says ex-employee

Boys at Rishi Sunak's school had 'no idea' about outside world says ex-employee

James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

John Sweeney: I do not think that Vladimir Putin has long for this world

John Sweeney: I do not think that Vladimir Putin has long for this world

James O'Brien tears apart government's 'ideological' opposition to a windfall tax

James O'Brien tears apart government's 'ideological' opposition to a windfall tax

Most Red Wall seats worse off under Boris Johnson despite levelling up promise

Most Red Wall seats worse off under Boris Johnson despite levelling up promise

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'running scared of backbenchers' over obesity

James O'Brien: Boris Johnson 'running scared of backbenchers' over obesity

Exclusive
Jamie Oliver spoke to James O'Brien on LBC today

Jamie Oliver’s Eton Mess protest on Downing St as he slams Boris for child obesity u-turn

'Is it contempt for the less fortunate?' James O'Brien blasts Tory Minister over poverty

'Is it contempt for the less fortunate?' James O'Brien blasts Tory Minister over poverty

'It's 21st century bloodsport': Columnist tracks down Oxford student 'hounded out' of UK

'It's 21st century bloodsport': Columnist tracks down Oxford student 'hounded out' of UK

James O'Brien's furious reaction to blocking of Lord Lebedev security assessment

James O'Brien's furious reaction to blocking of Lord Lebedev security assessment

James O'Brien argues the government has "massively conned" the public into thinking that it doesn't matter that "the only Covid law-making address in the country has become the biggest Covid law-breaking address... arguably in the world".

James O'Brien: Press 'conned' you that Partygate doesn't matter, I think it's worked