Boris Johnson 'tells Tories he hasn't done anything wrong' after Downing Street party apology

Boris Johnson apologised to MPs for attending a Downing Street lockdown bash but later told Tories 'this time we’re taking hits for something we don’t deserve'

Boris Johnson attended the event in No10 garden in May 2020, where his wife Carrie was allegedly present (file photo) ( Image: Getty Images)

Boris Johnson told Tory MPs he hadn't done anything wrong shortly shortly after offering a grovelling apology for attending a Downing Street drinks party during the first lockdown.

The Prime Minister finally confessed that he spent 25 minutes talking to staff in the No 10 garden on May 20 2020 following days of stonewalling.

Mr Johnson claimed the "BYOB" bash was a work event but recognised "with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside" in a Commons statement.

But his political future remains on a knife edge as the apology failed to quell mounting anger, with several senior Tories breaking ranks to call for his resignation.

Mr Johnson is said to have hit the Commons tearooms after his apology on Wednesday to woo Tory MPs - where some were surprised by his lack of contrition.

The PM told colleagues that “we have taken a lot of hits in politics and this is one of them”, according to The Times.

He added: "Sometimes we take the credit for things we don’t deserve and this time we’re taking hits for something we don’t deserve."

"He said that sometimes in life you get the credit for things you don’t deserve, while sometimes you get the blame for something you don’t deserve, too,” a Tory MP told the FT.

"He goes through his life thinking he doesn’t deserve the blame.”

A damaging rift opened with the Scottish Conservatives when leader Douglas Ross broke ranks to say the PM's position was "no longer tenable".

He was backed by a string of Scottish MSPs, and three senior Tories in Westminster, including ex-minister Caroline Nokes.

Mr Johnson reportedly refused to guarantee further revelations would emerge in a “tense” 15-minute telephone call in which he called on the PM to resign.

Mr Ross then publicly called for the PM to resign, telling STV: "He believes that he didn’t do anything wrong and he does put up a defence for his position.

“But I also have to look at the information I’ve got in front of me and to stick with the position that I made quite clear yesterday that if he’d attended that party, he couldn’t continue as prime minister.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the PM's apology was 'very, very sincere' ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)

But an explosive row broke out when Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg branded him "quite a lightweight figure".

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis dismissed reports the PM was not contrite as "tittle tattle".

He told Today: "I haven't heard that at all. I wasn't in the tearoom yesterday so commenting on tittle tattle that may have come out the tea room, I can't do that."

But he insisted that PM's apology was "very, very sincere".

In another interview, Mr Lewis insisted the PM did not believe he had broken the rules.

And he claimed Mr Johnson would "win the next election".

"The Prime Minister has outlined that he doesn't believe that he has done anything outside the rules. If you look at what the investigation finds, people will be able to take their own view of that at the time," he told Sky News.

"I personally think the Prime Minister is the right person to be Prime Minister. I think we will be able to go forward and win a general election."

Mr Lewis admitted the Tories had work to do to deliver on their promises but added: "This is somebody who wants to deal with that and do it in a way that delivers for everybody in the UK, and that is why I think he will win the next election."

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss offered muted support for the Prime Minister after his apology ( Image: REUTERS)

Downing Street refused to comment on remarks from "unsourced MPs in the tearoom".

"What is clear is what the PM said repeatedly in the House," the PM's spokesman said.

The spokesman also claimed Rishi Sunak and the whole Cabinet still had confidence in the Prime Minister - despite ominous silence from senior figures for much of yesterday.

Mr Sunak was away on a conveniently-time trip to Devon while the Prime Minister was facing a barrage of criticism in the Commons and waited until 8.10pm to post a lukewarm tweet offering support.

Asked if the PM was concerned that Mr Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss took almost 10 hours to offer their support on Twitter, the PM's official spokesman said: "What the Prime Minister wants and expects is the Cabinet to be focused on delivering on the public's priorities."

Asked if he believed he had the full support of his Cabinet, the spokesman said: "Yes, and you can see they continue to deliver on the public's priorities."

Downing Street dodged a question on whether Mr Johnson thought he was a good Prime Minister.

The spokesman said: "I don’t think self-reflection is his priority. I think is focus is on delivering for the public."

No10 also rebuffed a claim from Tory backbencher Sir Roger Gale that Mr Johnson was a "dead man walking", simply saying: "No."

"We very much appreciate, as the PM said yesterday, there are strong views on this issue. That's why the PM came to apologise, to make clear we did not get things right and he takes responsibility for that."

A YouGov poll, which was carried out before Mr Johnson's apology, put Labour at a 10-point lead ahead of the Tories for the first time in nearly a decade.

 

Source: The Daily Mirror

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-tells-tories-hasnt-25932560

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