'Nobody told me' that drinks party broke rules - Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson said he can say “categorically” he was not warned in advance that a gathering in No 10’s garden on May 20 2020 was in breach of Covid rules.
The British Prime Minister was questioned during a visit to a hospital in north London, his first public appearance since last week.
He told broadcasters: “I can tell you categorically, categorically, that nobody told me and nobody said that this was something that was against the rules or was a breach of the Covid rules or we were doing something that wasn’t a work event because, frankly, I don’t think, I can’t imagine why on earth it would have gone ahead or why it would have been allowed to go ahead.
“My memory of this event, as I’ve said, is going out into the garden for about 25 minutes for what I implicitly thought was a work event and talking to staff, thanking staff, I can’t remember exactly how many – but for about 25 minutes I was there. I then went back to my office and continued my work.”
He added: “I do humbly apologise to people for misjudgments that were made. But that is the very, very best of my recollection about this event.”
Mr Johnson refused to be drawn on whether he would resign if he was found to have misled Parliament over a No 10 drinks party during lockdown.
The British Prime Minister said it was important to wait for the findings of an inquiry by the senior civil servant Sue Gray.
“We’ll have to see what she says. I think that she should be given the space to get on and conclude her inquiry,” he said.
“I would urge everybody who has knowledge of this, memories of this, to tell her what they know.
“Let’s see what the report says.”
He appeared distressed as he faced questions about No 10 parties on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
He could be heard breathing heavily behind his mask as he told reporters: “I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened.
“I can only renew my apologies both to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgments that were made, and for which I take full responsibility.”