“I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing No 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures, and I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules because I was also furious to see that clip,” Johnson said on December 8.
“I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologise for the impression that it gives.
“But I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken, and that is what I have been repeatedly assured.”
On December 13 he told TV cameras: “I can tell you that I certainly broke no rules – the whole thing will be looked into by the cabinet secretary, and what I’m focused on, frankly, is the vaccine rollout.”
‘I want to apologise’
After the Christmas break, Johnson was forced to apologise when it emerged he had attended a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden.
“I want to apologise. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months,” he said on January 12.
He went on: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.
“And though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.
Johnson added: “With hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them.
“I should have recognised that even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there are millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside, and to them and to this House I offer my heartfelt apologies.
‘I renew my apologies to Her Majesty, and I take full responsibility’