Boris Johnson has apologised after admitting that he attended a Downing Street garden drinks party during England’s first national lockdown.
He said he regretted his action and had thought the gathering was a work event – drawing jeers and laughter from opposition lawmakers.
“I went into that garden just after six on the 20th of May 2020 to thank groups of staff before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working,” he said.
“With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside.”
Leaders of all the main opposition parties called for his resignation.
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said the public – who handed Johnson a landslide election victory in December 2019 after he promised to secure Britain’s exit from the European Union – thought him a liar.
Anger has grown since ITV News reported Johnson and partner Carrie mingled with about 40 staff in the Downing Street garden after his Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds sent an invitation asking attendees to “bring your own booze”. Johnson’s press secretary said the prime minister had not seen that email.