THE PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has officially addressed a recent fine he received in relation to a gathering which took place in Downing Street during June 2020 when the UK was in lockdown, saying that it did not occur to him "then or subsequently" that the gathering amounted to a breach of Covid rules.
"Let me begin in all humility by saying that on 12 April I received a fixed penalty notice relating to an event in Down Street on 19 June 2020," he said. "I paid the fine immediately and I offered the British people a full apology. I take this opportunity on the first available sitting day to repeat my whole-hearted apology to the house. As soon as I received the noticed, I acknowledged the hurt and the anger and I said that people had a right to expect better of their Prime Minister.
"And I repeat that again, Mr Speaker, in the house now. Let me also say, not by way of mitigation or excuse, but purely because it explains my previous words in this house, that it did not occur to be then or subsequently that a gathering in the cabinet room just before a vital meeting on Covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules."
He said that such a lack of occurrence was his mistake, and that he apologises "unreservedly".
"I respect the outcome of the police investigation which is still underway. And I can only say that I will respect their decision making and always take the appropriate steps, and as the House will know I have already taken significant steps to change the way things work in No. 10.
"It is precisely because I know that so many people are angry and disappointed that I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people, and to respond in the best traditions of our country to Putin's barbaric onslaught of Ukraine."
Johnson then proceeded to discuss the UK's response to the ongoing war in Ukraine, having he himself visited the country in recent days.
Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer described discussions about Ukraine as "deflections and distortions."
"What a joke, he said. "Even now as the latest merely mouthed apology stumbles out of one side of his mouth, a new set of deflections and distortions pour from the other.
"The damage is already done. The public have made up their mind. They don't believe a word the Prime Minister says. They know what he is."
Starmer criticised the Prime Minister's actions in relation to the political casualties they have caused.
"As ever with the Prime Minister, those close to him find themselves ruined and the institutions he vows to protect damaged. Good ministers forced to walk away from public service, the chancellor's career up in flames, and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives rendered pathetic.
"For all those unfamiliar with this PM's career. This ins't some fixable glitch in the system - it's the whole point. It's what he does. It's who he is.
"He knows he's dishonest and incapable of changing so he drags everybody else down with him. The more people deface themselves, parroting his absurd defences, the more the public will believe all politicians are the same, all as abad as each other."
He also said that some members of the Conservative Party seem oblivious to the Prime Minster's "game," with others being "too weak to act," and others "gleefully playing the part the Prime Minister has cast for them."