Boris Johnson’s former close aide has admitted a lockdown party in Downing Street has caused ‘anger and upset’.

It was revealed last night Number 10 staff held a boozy gathering on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.

At the time, the country was being told not to socialise indoors with anyone outside their own households and to only meet outdoors in limited groups.

But on April 16, 2021, one individual working in the PM’s office was sent to the Co-op on the Strand ‘with a suitcase’ to get wine, eyewitnesses have claimed to The Telegraph, ahead of a leaving do.

The event was to say farewell to James Slack, who served as the prime minister’s director of communications and left to become deputy editor at The Sun newspaper.

On the morning after Downing Street party, an image of the Queen sitting alone to observe social-distancing guidelines at her husband’s funeral moved the nation.

Now Mr Slack has acknowledged the party took place and apologised, admitting it ‘should not have happened at the time that it did’.

In a statement, he added ‘I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility’ but declined to comment any further while a civil service-led investigation is being carried out.

A Downing Street spokesperson said of Mr Slack’s farewell event: ‘On this individual’s last day he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those working from home.’

An alleged second gathering which is said to have taken place in the basement of Number 10 on the same night has not been confirmed or denied by officials.

There was reportedly a ‘party atmosphere with music blaring out’ as staff gathered to say goodbye to one of Mr Johnson’s personal photographers.

The Telegraph claimed the two parties joined together at one point in the evening, making a group of 30.

Mr Johnson was in Chequers that weekend and did not attend any gathering, a spokesperson said.

Despite Boris Johnson’s admission he attended a garden party earlier this week, the Met is still declining to investigate.

A spokesperson for the force said it does not investigate Covid-19 legislation breaches ‘when they are reported long after they are said to have taken place’.

They continued: ‘However, if significant evidence suggesting a breach of the regulations becomes available, officers may review and consider it.’

Senior Whitehall inside Sue Gray has been asked to lead a probe into the alleged gatherings and could report back as early as next week.

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