Watch again: Boris renews apology as scale of lockdown-breaking in No10 laid bare

25 May 2022, 12:00 | Updated: 25 May 2022, 13:20

By Sophie Barnett

Boris Johnson has told MPs he believes his actions were "appropriate" after the scale of lockdown-breaking at Downing Street was laid bare in Sue Gray's Partygate report.

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Addressing MPs on Wednesday after the Cabinet Office published Sue Gray's report in full, the Prime Minister said he wants to renew his apology to the British people.

He insisted Downing Street staff who attended a leaving party for staff last November, which he was pictured attending, were justified.

The Prime Minister said he takes "full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch".

"I want to begin today by renewing my apology to the House, to the whole country, for the short lunchtime gathering on June 19, 2020 in the Cabinet Room, during which I stood at my place at the Cabinet table and for which I received a fixed penalty notice," he said.

"I also want to say above all that I take full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch. Sue Gray's report has emphasised that it is up to the political leadership in Number 10 to take ultimate responsibility and, of course, I do."

Sue Gray concluded senior leadership at Downing Street - both political and official - must "bear responsibility."

Her report is 37 pages long and contains nine photos - including damning pictures of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

Read more: Read it in full: Sue Gray's much-anticipated final Partygate report

Read more: Boris's birthday bash pictures revealed as Gray report slams failings and drinking in No10

The report will be "very, very tough on the leadership of the PM and the senior civil servants involved" in Partygate, the former head of the Civil Service has said.

Lord Kerslake said it is "really important" that Ms Gray is not undermined when the report is released.

There have been allegations in recent days that Mr Johnson pressured Ms Gray to drop her report after the pair held a "secret meeting" ahead of its release.

Read more: Downing St handed Sue Gray’s full report on lockdown-busting parties as PM plans apology

Read more: Sunak to unveil 'cost-of-living rescue package' the day after Sue Gray publishes report

The Times was told by two Whitehall sources that the Prime Minister suggested to Ms Gray that she did not need to publish her full report.

"He asked her is there much point in doing it now that it’s all out there," one said.

Lord Kerslake told Sky News: "I have been deeply concerned about some of the comments that have been made undermining the credibility of what she has been doing, suggesting she is going beyond her brief - that is terrible.

"I am pretty clear, from what I understand, it will be very, very tough on the leadership of the PM and the senior civil servants involved, and that is right, in my view.

"There has been an appalling lapse of standards and we need to recognise that."

Publication of Ms Gray's report was delayed at the request of the Metropolitan Police to avoid influencing their investigation.

The force announced on Thursday morning that Operation Hillman has resulted in 126 fixed penalty notices (FPN) being dished out to those who were found to have broken lockdown rules.

A total of 126 fines given out over events on eight dates, with 73 fines issued to 48 women and 53 fines to 35 men, with some people receiving multiple penalties.

It's been reported that the Government is set to unveil new plans to help people during the cost-of-living crisis - the day after the Partygate report is published.

The announcement is reported to be going ahead as a way to take some of the heat off the Government following the publication of Ms Gray's full report.

You can watch the video again at the top of this article.