Boris Johnson has dropped plans to raise a post-lockdown pint on Monday out of respect after the death of Prince Philip.
The Prime Minister had planned to visit a newly-reopened pub as lockdown eases in England, saying he would be “cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”
However, he has axed the trip as the government cancels all routine ministerial press conferences, interviews and visits in the wake of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death aged 99.
Routine government press releases and policies will also be paused, as they are during election purdah periods. The only exception will be for public health advice and updates relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pub beer gardens, gyms and non-essential shops will still reopen as planned on Monday. The period of mourning will make no change to England entering Step Two of the Covid lockdown roadmap from April 12.
The Prime Minister hailed the Duke’s “bravery” and service in a statement outside 10 Downing Street today.
Mr Johnson, who was working in Downing Street, was informed by a senior official this morning.
He then rang the Leader of the Opposition, Labour’s Keir Starmer, and the pair agreed to suspend campaigning for next month’s local and mayoral elections in England and polls in Scotland and Wales.
The PM later called the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, and agreed Parliament should be recalled 24 hours earlier than planned so MPs could pay tribute to the Duke at 2.30pm on Monday.
Mr Johnson changed his working suit for black attire, fine-tuned his prepared statement, and exited the famous No10 black door to deliver his tribute to the prince.
At 4pm, the PM was due to chair an “operational ministerial meeting” involving senior Cabinet ministers, including Home Secretary Priti Patel, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, a senior police officer and officials from the various royal households.
An hour later, he was due to host a full Cabinet meeting for ministers to pay tribute to the Duke.
Planned media appearances were scrapped for the coming days, including pulling guests from the flagship Sunday morning political shows.
Ministerial visits and press announcements have also been halted.
The length of these restrictions has not yet been decided within government and the Palace makes decisions on the period of mourning.
However, arrangements for the funeral are for Buckingham Palace not the government.