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Boris Johnson offers ‘wholehearted apology’ over Downing Street ‘partygate’

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Last week, UK PM Johnson was fined 50 pounds ($66) for attending his own surprise birthday party in 10 Downing Street in June 2020.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday offered a “wholehearted” apology for attending an illegal party during the Covid-19 lockdown but said he didn’t knowingly break rules or mislead Parliament. Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons “it did not occur to me” that the gathering was a party.

Last week, Johnson was fined 50 pounds ($66) for attending his own surprise birthday party in 10 Downing Street in June last year. Police are still investigating several other parties in government buildings that Johnson is alleged to have attended.

“Let me also say not by way of mitigation or excuse, but purely, purely because it explains my previous words in this house, that it did not occur to me then or subsequently, the day gathering in the Cabinet Room, just before the vital meeting on Covid strategy, could amount to a breach of the rules,” Bloomberg quoted Johnson as saying in Parliament. “That was my mistake. And I apologise for it, unreservedly.”

The lawmakers will vote in the Commons on Thursday on whether to refer Johnson to the committee on standards for misleading the House.

Meanwhile, Mark Harper, a senior lawmaker in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, called on Johnson to resign, saying he did not believe “he is worthy of the great office that he holds”, reported news agency Reuters.

Harper, a former chief whip who helped maintain party discipline, told Johnson in the chamber that he needed to quit after he was fined by police for breaking his own Covid-19 rules. Harper has also submitted a letter of no confidence in the prime minister.

(With inputs agencies)

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