Boris Johnson statement in full: PM responds to partygate chaos and pays fine

Boris Johnson statement in full: PM responds to partygate chaos and pays fine

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologises for his lockdown fine

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a statement in response to the fine issued to him by the police after several parties took place in Downing Street at the height of lockdown – including a gathering for his birthday. The PM’s wife Carrie Johnson has now paid a fixed penalty notice relating to a gathering on the afternoon of June 19 2020. Her spokesman said she “apologises unreservedly”.

The partygate scandal has caused an uproar both in Government and among the public, with anger over the lax rules in Downing Street while strict guidance was enforced across the UK.

A poll of 2,464 adults by YouGov has revealed 57 percent of responders think Mr Johnson should resign as Prime Minister after being fined for attending a lockdown-busting party, while 30 percent say he should stay.

The same proportion said Mr Sunak should also resign as Chancellor for being at the same event, a birthday party for the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street on June 19, 2020.

In total, 75 percent of responders said they thought Mr Johnson knowingly lied to Parliament about whether he broke lockdown rules, with just 12 percent saying he did not.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson statement in full: PM responds to partygate fine chaos (Image: BBC)

Boris Johnson’s partygate statement in full

Mr Johnson said: “Today I’ve received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan Police relating to an event in Downing Street on 19 June 2020.

“Let me say immediately I have 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.

“My day began shortly after 7am and I chaired eight meetings in Number 10 including the Cabinet Committee deciding Covid strategy.

Boris Johnson fine

Mr Johnson said he had paid the fine and offered a “full apology” (Image: BBC)

“I visited a school in Hemel Hempstead which took me out of Downing Street for over four hours.

“And amongst all these engagements on the day that happens to be my birthday, 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 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.

“But of course, the police have found otherwise, and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation.

“I visited a school in Hemel Hempstead which took me out of Downing Street for over four hours.

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“I understand the anger many will feel that I myself fell short when it came to observing the very rules the Government I lead had introduced to protect the public.

“And I accept in all sincerity that people have the right to expect better.

“Now I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people, strengthening our economy, creating jobs and opportunities, levelling up across the whole of the United Kingdom and now, of course, ensuring that Putin fails in Ukraine and easing the burden on hard-working families caused by higher energy prices.

“I will take forward that task with due humility but with maximum determination to fulfil my duty and do what is best for the country I serve. Thanks very much.”

Boris Johnson timeline

Mr Johnson said it did not occur to him that he had breached the rules (Image: EXPRESS)

Speaking to an interviewer after his speech, Mr Johnson said he takes “full responsibility for everything” but he “couldn’t be everywhere at once” when asked about the widespread nature of the gatherings across Whitehall.

The Prime Minister said: “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.

“It’s a much… it’s a very different organisation and we’re focusing 100 percent on delivering our agenda.”

When asked if he would resign Mr Johnson said: “I have, of course, paid the FPN and I apologise once again for the mistake that I made.

“And as I’ve said just now I want to be able to get on and deliver the mandate that I have, but also to tackle the problems that the country must face right now and to make sure that we get on with delivering for the people in this country. That is my priority.”

Asked whether the fact he had broken his own laws meant that was not possible, he added: “I believe that it’s my job to get on and deliver for the people this country and that’s what I’m going to do.”

On whether more fines could be issued against him Mr Johnson told the interviewer: “I’m sure if they are you’ll be the first to know.”

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