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Boris Johnson Doubles Down On Claim That He Didn’t Know He Was Breaking Covid Rules

by : Emily Brown on :
Boris Johnson Doubles Down On Claim That He Didn't Know He Was Breaking Covid RulesAlamy

Boris Johnson has doubled down on his claim that he didn’t know he was breaking coronavirus rules by attending a gathering at Downing Street during lockdown. 

The PM has faced calls for resignation after admitting to taking part in the ‘bring your own booze’ party during the height of lockdown in 2020, but he continues to stand by his claim that he was unaware of any wrongdoing.

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After apologising last week for taking part in the event, Johnson has now argued that ‘nobody told’ him the Number 10 garden party was ‘against the rules’.

Hear his claims below:

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In an interview with Sky News, the prime minister said he ‘humbly apologises’ to people for misjudgements that were made by the government and implied he would have put a stop to the event if he thought it was in breach of lockdown rules.

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He commented:

I’m saying categorically that nobody told me, nobody said this was something that was against the rules, doing something that wasn’t a work event because frankly, I can’t imagine why it would have gone ahead or it would have been allowed to go ahead if it was against the rules.

Johnson went on to claim that his memory of the gathering, which he ‘implicitly thought was a work event’, involved him ‘going out into the garden for about 25 minutes’ and ‘talking to staff, thanking staff who’d worked on COVID’ before he ‘then went back to [his] office and continued [his] work.’

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The prime minister has made the same claims in the inquiry being conducted by top civil servant Sue Gray.

In hindsight, the prime minister admitted he ‘should have looked around’ and told people to go back indoors after realising it was not a work event.

He added: ‘I apologise for that but I hope that people will understand the circumstances we were operating in. I’ve just got to ask people to wait for Sue Gray to report.’

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News of the ‘bring your own booze’ party came to light last week when an email invite sent to more than 100 Downing Street employees was revealed to the media. Johnson has claimed he only saw the invite written by his Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, when it was leaked.

When asked about two parties that are alleged to have taken place on the night before Prince Philip’s funeral, Johnson said he ‘deeply and bitterly regret[s] that happened’, adding: ‘I can only renew my apology to her majesty and to apologise for misjudgments made and for which I take full responsibility.’

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: News, Boris Johnson, Downing Street, government, lockdown, Now

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Sky News
  1. Sky News

    Boris Johnson says 'nobody told me' Number 10 lockdown garden party was against the rules