Boris Johnson has provided a “full apology” and confirmed he has paid a hard and fast penalty fine for attending a birthday social gathering in Downing Street in June 2020, but insisted that it “did not occur to me” at the time that he had damaged the principles.
Defending himself towards accusations that he misled parliament over events at No 10, Mr Johnson insisted that he “spoke in good faith” when he advised the House of Commons that no Covid guidelines have been damaged.
And he made clear that he will not resign after turning into the primary sitting UK prime minister ever to be discovered by police to have damaged the legislation.
Asked if he will give up, he replied: “I want to be able to get on and deliver the mandate that I have.”
Speaking at his countryside retreat Chequers shortly after it was revealed that he was amongst a complete of greater than 50 ministers, advisers and officers to obtain fastened penalty notices, Mr Johnson made clear that he recognised he might face additional fines as the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman inquiry continues.
Notices have been issued to the PM, his spouse Carrie and chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in relation to a shock birthday social gathering held for Mr Johnson within the Cabinet Room at No 10 on 19 June 2020.
But Mr Johnson can be identified to have attended three or extra of the opposite 11 occasions being investigated by Scotland Yard.
Confirming that he had been fined over the birthday social gathering – at which a detailed ally beforehand stated he was “ambushed with a cake” – Mr Johnson stated: “I’ve paid the fine and I once again offer a full apology and in the spirit of openness and humility I want to be completely clear about what happened on that date.”
He stated that he had began work at 7am that day, chaired eight conferences and gone on a go to to Hemel Hempstead earlier than on his return to Downing Street “there was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm lasting for less than 10 minutes, during which people I work with kindly passed on their good wishes”.
And he added: “I have to say in all frankness at that time it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules.”
Mr Johnson stated he “fully respects” the result of the Metropolitan Police investigation and that he accepts “in all sincerity that people had the right to expect better”.
But he disregarded calls from opposition leaders and bereaved households for him to resign, saying: “Now I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people.”
He added that he would “do what is best for the country I serve”.
Challenged over the quite a few events alleged to have been held in Downing Street, which is his workplace as nicely as his dwelling, he stated: “Of course I take full responsibility for everything, but don’t forget the Downing Street is about, you know, 15,000 square feet. It’s got a lot of officials working in it – hundreds and hundreds of officials. I couldn’t be everywhere at once.
“But clearly once it became obvious what had been happening, the types of behaviour that unfortunately sadly we’d seen, we’ve taken steps to change things and Downing Street has been radically transformed.”