The Co-op on London’s the Strand has been hit with a number of joke reviews after it was alleged that Downing Street staff popped to the supermarket to fill “a suitcase of wine” for a lockdown rule-breaking party in April 2021.

The Telegraph reports that two leaving parties took place on 16 April 2021, while the country was under stage two of lockdown easing, meaning no indoor socialising and rule of six outside.

Adding to the outrage, the parties also took place the day before the Queen attended her husband Prince Philip’s funeral alone due to the rules in place, and it comes after Boris Johnson’s apology for attending another garden party in May 2020 went down like a lead balloon, with the public tired of hearing sustained news about potential rule-breaking.

File photo dated 17/04/21 of Queen Elizabeth II after taking her seat for the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, in St George\u2019s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire (Jonathan Brady/PA) PA Wire

But at least people could find some humour in an allegation in the story made by a source, claiming that someone was sent to the Co-op on with a suitcase to fill it with bottles of wine and bring it back to the party.

One ‘review’ posted on Google called the supermarket “the perfect place to fill a suitcase full of booze should you be invited to a party at No.10 Downing Street”.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Another said: “Filled an entire suitcase of booze here a few months back...highly recommended.”

A third joker wrote: “Great place to buy wine for lockdown parties.”

While another said: “I visited the Strand Co-Op store during the second national lockdown, I remember it vividly as it was the day before Prince Philip’s funeral that was on TV.

“One colleague suggested we get drunk together, as that’s what all the rest of the departments in our organisation were doing at the time, so they sent me to the store along the Strand with a suitcase.

“The staff were very, friendly and helpful, and the kind lady, who had earlier thrown someone out for not wearing a mask, helped me pack the wine bottles into the suitcase, and wished me luck on my journey back to the work meeting.”

Google/Screengrab

The parties were reportedly for James Slack, Johnson’s director of communications, and a photographer. Around 30 people attended the combined events, which merged during the night. Johnson was not at Downing Street at the time, according to reports.

Meanwhile, there was music, alcohol and a source claims a member of staff even broke Wilf Johnson’s swing.

Responding to the allegations a Downing Street spokesperson said: “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.”

Slack also issued an apology for his role in the evening.

Meanwhile, 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.”

Asked why No 10 had apologised rather than Boris Johnson himself, the spokesman said: “Well, again, the Prime Minister said earlier misjudgments have been made and it’s right people apologise, as the PM did earlier this week.

“It remains the case that I can’t prejudge the inquiry, which you know is ongoing, which has been led by Sue Gray, but we acknowledge the significant public anger, it was regrettable this took place a time of national mourning.”

Indy100 has contacted the supermarket to comment on this story.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)