Every word of Boris Johnson's 'apology' for Downing Street 'work party'

By Emilia Bona

Boris Johnson apologised for the Downing Street lockdown garden party today as Labour leader Keir Starmer called for his resignation.

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson said he “went outside for 25 mins" to thank staff but admitted "with hindsight I should have sent them back indoors".

The Prime Minister claimed he felt his actions on May 20 fell "within the rules".

READ MORE: Keir Starmer calls for Boris Johnson to resign at Prime Minister's Questions over party scandal

Speaking at PMQs he said: "Mr Speaker I want to apologise. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months.

"I know the anger that they have been through, unable to mourn their relatives unable to live their lives as they want or to do the things they love.

"And I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead when they think that, in Downing Street itself, the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.

"And though I can not anticipate the conclusion of the current inquiry I have learnt enough to know there are things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.

"Number 10 is a big department with the garden as an extension of the office which has been in constant use because of the role of fresh air in stopping the spread of the virus.

"When I went into that garden just after 6pm om May 20, 2020, to thank groups of staff before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I believed implicitly that this was a work event.

"But Mr Speaker 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 be said technically to fall within the guidance there would be millions and mill of people who simply would not see it that way.

"People who suffered terribly. People who were forbidden from meeting loved ones at all inside or outside. And to them and to this House I offer my heartfelt apologies and all I ask is that Sue Grey be allowed to complete her inquiry into that day and several others so the full facts can be established."

He later reiterated that he "believes the events in question were within the guidance and within the rules."

Labour leader Keir Starmer responded to the Prime Minister's apology with a searing take down.

He said: "There we have it... the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road.

"His defence, that 'he did not realise he was at a party' is offensive to the British public.

"Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?"

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what's on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here

What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.