After witnesses told the BBC the Prime Minister and his wife were among about 40 people who attended the “bring your own booze” event, Boris Johnson decided to admit to the rule-break and offer a “heart-felt apology”. On the day the gathering was held at least 36,041 people had already died of Covid in the UK; fathers were not allowed to witness the birth of their children in hospital, patients missed chemotherapy appointments, and loved ones died alone with no visitors allowed.
Speaking in Parliament today during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said: “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, 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.
“Though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know that there were things we simply 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.
“And when I went into that garden just after six on the 20th of 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 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 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 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 enquiry into that day and several others so that the full facts can be established.”
Mr Afzal said: “She died alone in hospital while I sat in the car outside trying to be as close to her as I could.
“Even burdened with our grief, my family obeyed the rules.
“Just three days after the Downing Street party we marked a solemn Eid, the first without my lovely mum.”
MP Jim Shannon broke down in tears in the Commons as he spoke about the death of his mother-in-law, who died alone from Covid.
Do you think Mr Johnson’s behaviour is forgivable? Have your say in the comments section below.
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