Breaking: Boris Johnson finally apologises amid Downing Street party scandal

The Prime Minister appeared in the Commons in his first public appearance since an email from Martin Reynolds was leaked, inviting Downing Street staff to a gathering on 20 May 2020.

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The Prime Minster has apologised to MPs and the country for allowing parties to go ahead in the Number 10 Downing Street garden.

Boris Johnson told the Commons: “With hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them.

“I should have recognised that even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there are millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside, and to them and to this House I offer my heartfelt apologies.

“All I ask is that Sue Gray be allowed to complete her inquiry into that day and several others so that the full facts can be established.”

Boris Johnson told the Commons: “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 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.”

Boris 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.”

It was Boris Johnson's first public appearance since a leak on Monday of an email from his principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, inviting Downing Street staff to the gathering in May 2020 to “make the most of the lovely weather”.

The disclosure triggered a new wave of public anger following the reports last year of parties in the run up to Christmas 2020, with Tory MPs openly warning Mr Johnson his position will be untenable if he has been shown to have lied.

Boris Johnson refused to provide a definitive answer when Sir Keir Starmer asked if he will resign from his position.

The Prime Minister said: “I take responsibility and I apologise. But as for his political point, I don’t think that he should pre-empt the outcome of the inquiry. He will have a further opportunity, I hope, to question me as soon as possible.”