British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized, on Wednesday, after attending a Downing Street garden drinks party during the first lockdown in May.
Addressing the Commons under intense pressure from MPs, including those on his own government benches, to confirm whether he attended a drinks gathering at Number 10 on 20 May 2020, Johnson said he had “learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right”.
“I believed implicitly that this was a work event,” he told the Commons, adding that he “must take responsibility” for events that took place.
"I want to apologise. I know that millions of people have made extraordinary sacrifices"
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In response, Sir Keir Starmer called for the Prime Minister to “do the decent thing and resign”, branding his defence as “so ridiculous that it is actually offensive to the British people”.
“I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months. I know the anguish they have been through – unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as they want or to do the things they love,” Johnson told the Commons.
“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.”
“And 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.”
Calling Johnson’s actions “a clear breach of the ministerial code”, Sir Keir said the prime minister is a “pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road”.
“The party is over prime minister,” the Labour leader continued, adding: “When the prime minister’s former health secretary broke the rules, he resigned and the prime minister said he was right to do so.”
Johnson said Sir Keir should “wait until the inquiry has concluded” before questioning further on the matter.
Downing Street had previously refused to say if the prime minister was present at the event which he and his now-wife attended along with around 40 others at a time when such gatherings were banned, according to Sky News.