Steerpike

Watch: Boris apologises for No. 10 party

Watch: Boris apologises for No. 10 party
Boris Johnson apologises (Credit: Parliament TV)
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It's probably the most difficult PMQs he'll ever have to face. Boris Johnson is on the back foot today over reports on a garden party which went on in No. 10 in May 2020. Just before he faced questions from MPs, Johnson took the opportunity to finally apologise to the House and to the country, telling them 'I know the rage' the public 'feel towards me' and saying 'I must take responsibility. No. 10 is a big department with the garden as an extension of the office' but 'I believed implicitly this was a work event.

Will that be enough?

Here's the full text of what Boris had to say:

'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 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 that make the rules. And though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we did not get right and I must take responsibility. 

'No. 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 virus. When I went into that garden just after 6pm on 20 May 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, 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 millions 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 and outside. And to them and this house I offer my heartfelt apologies. And 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.'

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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