‘Bring your own booze party’ row: Johnson says sorry as oppn tears into his ‘worthless’ apology

WION Web Team
London Published: Jan 12, 2022, 06:22 PM(IST)

Boris Johnson Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

He defended his participation at the controversial 2020 gathering in Downing Street, saying that he thought that it was a 'work event'

Admitting to having attended the ‘bring your own booze party’ during the first phase of Covid lockdown, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered an apology while speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

He defended his participation at the controversial 2020 gathering in Downing Street, saying he thought that it was a “work event”—an apology derided by British Labour party’s leader Kier Starmer who deemed it “worthless”.

The prime minister said he understands the British public’s “rage” over the incident, but insisted he thought it could have been technically within the rules.

Johnson told the MPs that he attended the May 20th event to “thank groups of staff”, adding that he left the party in 25 minutes.

“I want to apologise. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months,” Johnson said as calls for his resignation grew louder among the opposition MPs.

Also read | UK MP breaks down over death of mother-in-law during lockdown party debate

“I believed implicitly that this was a work event…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 have been said technically to fall within the guidance — there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way,” he said.

Starmer, however, continued to demand his resignation saying that it was “ridiculous” that the prime minister “didn’t realise he was at a party”.

Watch | Under fire for lockdown parties, UK PM Boris Johnson grilled in the British Parliament

Johnson said that senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating the matter to determine what happened.

Also read | UK PM Johnson to face the music over reports of holding booze party during Covid lockdown

During the session, a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Jim Shannon who was questioning Johnson over party row, broke down in tears.

According to reports, Shannon started crying for his mother-in-law who had died alone with COVID during the pandemic.

The reports of PM holding a party for his colleagues in the middle of the deadly pandemic was made public by his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds on Monday who claimed that more than 100 staff were invited for the gathering in May 2020.

The revelation triggered massive public outrage, as pressure mounted on Johnson to make full disclosure on his participation.

(With inputs from agencies)

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