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Politics

Boris Johnson apologises for not realising his birthday party was a party

The prime minister has (sort of) apologised after being fined for breaking lockdown rules.

Boris Johnson has apologised in parliament for the fact it did “not occur” to him that his birthday party in the Cabinet room was against coronavirus rules.

Speaking in the House of Commons for the first time since receiving his fine over the Easter recess, Johnson repeated his apology for receiving a fine for breaking Covid curbs.

The statement was delivered after speaker Lindsay Hoyle confirmed MPs will get to decide whether Johnson should be investigated for misleading the Commons.

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“It did not occur to me 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,” Johnson said.

“I repeat that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.”

Responding, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “What a joke.”

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Earlier this month, Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak received £50 fines for attending a birthday party held for Johnson in Downing Street in June 2020.

The prime minister previously confirmed he would follow the tradition of resigning if it emerged he willingly misled parliament. Under the ministerial code, which bears Johnson’s signature, any minister is expected to resign if they do so.

After denying there were any parties in Downing Street, and that he had broken the rules, Johnson subsequently said it “did not occur” to him the event, which included cake, broke the rules.

Conservative MPs defended Johnson ahead of his statement, with Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis saying the fine was no different to a parking ticket.

On Thursday, MPs will vote on a motion, put forward by Starmer, which would place Johnson under investigation by the privileges committee and determine whether his statements to the Commons amount to wilful misleading.

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