Boris Johnson has admitted he attended the garden party held in Downing Street on 20 May 2020 and apologised during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
The Prime Minister told MPs in the House of Commons that he attended the “bring your own booze” gathering, but he said he “believed implicitly that this was a work event” and only attended for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff.”
He added to MPs, that “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside, I should have found some other way to thank them, and I should have recognised that, even if it could have been said technically to fall within the guidance – there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way.”
He acknowledged that “people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside” adding, “To them and to this House, I offer my heartfelt apologies.”
Johnson recognises the public “rage” over the garden party, but insists he thought it was technically within the rules.
He acknowledged the public anger, “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.
“Though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.”
The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer went in all guns blazing and called on the Prime Minister to resign.
“After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road,” Sir Keir said.
“His defence … that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.”
He added, “The party’s over, Prime Minister.
“The only question is will the British public kick him out, will his party kick him out or will he do the decent thing and resign?”
Sir Keir told the Commons that the public now knows the Prime Minister is “lying through his teeth.”