BORIS Johnson today apologised for Partygate and vowed to overhaul how No 10 works.
The PM said sorry as he addressed MPs in the Commons, telling them: “I get it, and I will fix it.”
He said: “Firstly, I want to say sorry. I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.
“It’s no use saying people were working hard. This pandemic was hard for everyone. We asked people to make the most enormous sacrifices.
“Not to meet loved ones, not to visit relatives before they died, and I understand the anger that people feel.
“But it isn’t enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn.
“I of course accept Sue Gray’s general findings in full, and above all her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now.”
Boris faced cries of “resign” from the Labour benches as he entered the Commons to issue his grovelling apology.
As he told the chamber “I want to say to the people of this country I know what the issue is” they bellowed back: “You!”
The PM ploughed on: “It is whether this Government can be trusted to deliver, and I say ‘yes we can be trusted to deliver’.”
In major developments:
- Ms Gray revealed the Met were probing 12 out of the 16 gatherings
- She revealed the cops were investigating a gathering in the PM’s flat the night Dominic Cummings resigned
- Ms Gray said some staff felt too afraid to challenge the behaviour inside No10
- Boris Johnson is set to rally Tory MPs at a meeting this evening
- He will then avoid the fallout by jetting off to Ukraine tomorrow
Boris’ D-Day finally arrived today as Sue Gray’s Partygate report revealed cops ARE probing a gathering inside the PM’s flat.
A watered-down version of the Whitehall inquiry tore into “failures of leadership and judgment” inside No10 during lockdown.
The top civil servant, whose original findings have been heavily severely censored by the Met, also scolded the booze culture in Downing Street.
Her 12-page report concluded: “There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.
“Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”
Mr Johnson spent the morning poring over the findings that could decide his political career before it was published this afternoon.
Crucial findings have been redacted from the report after Scotland Yard demanded Ms Gray leaves out anything that encroaches on their own inquiry.
Dame Cressida Dick took a wrecking ball to the civil service probe by launching her own police investigation into eight parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.
In her report Ms Gray revealed the Met were investigating 12 out of the 16 gatherings that formed part of her probe.
It means references to these 12 gatherings were effectively off-limits for the final version of her pared-back report.
They include the “bring your own booze bash” in the Downing St garden, and two No10 parties on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.
But worryingly for Mr Johnson it also includes a gathering in the No10 flat on November 13, the night Dominic Cummings left.
Despite press reports of attendees belting out ABBA, the PM has previously suggested in the Commons that a party did not take place, while Carrie Johnson’s spokesperson has categorically denied it.
That the police are investigating the gathering suggests they have found evidence of law-breaking.
Although holding back from implying criminality, Ms Gray accused Downing St staff of not following the rules they were inflicting on the nation.
She said: “At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of
Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population
at the time.”
The Whitehall tough-nut added that at times “too little thought” was given to the suffering of the public.
Downing Street has not committed to publish the full findings of the Gray report even once the cops finish, meaning they may never see the light of day.
Mr Johnson and senior Downing St staff have been interviewed as part of the process.
The PM has for weeks been urging rebellious Tory MPs to wait for the Gray report before submitting letters of no confidence in his leadership.
He has insisted the findings would exonerate him from any lockdown-rule breaking and “draw a line” under the saga.
But it remains to be seen if the watered-down report is enough to bring would-be mutineers back from the ledge – or whether they’ll hold judgement until the Met probe concludes.
Seven Tory MPs have so far publicly called for Mr Johnson to resign, along with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Publication of the Gray report had been expected to trigger a further cascade of letters, but temperatures now appear to have cooled.
Mr Johnson’s loyalists has been shoring up support with wavering MPs, while the PM has been meeting some personally in his office.
He’s vowed to shake-up his top team in Downing Street and pursue more Conservative policies.
Today he launched a Brexit Freedoms Bill and is planning to publish the long-awaited Levelling Up white paper this week.