On Monday (10 January), it was revealed a “bring your own booze” party was held at the Downing Street gardens on 20 May 2020 with more than 100 people invited. Reports suggested that 30 people had attended, including the prime minister and his wife, although Johnson refused to confirm his attendance.
At the time, restrictions on social gatherings had just been eased to allow outdoor mixing with one member of another household, which could only take place in public open spaces rather than private gardens.
Appearing at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (12 January), Johnson admitted that he was at the party and apologised for attending, while claiming that he believed it was a work event.
In response, Labour leader Keir Starmer called on the prime minister at PMQs to do “the decent thing” and resign his position. “The prime minister is a man without shame,” he said.
Watching the scenes in parliament as they were televised, Morgan tweeted: “Boris Johnson says he thought the massive p***-up in his No10 back garden was a ‘work event’. More pathetic lies that negate any sincerity with his apology.
“Humiliating PMQs for @BorisJohnson – and very telling unsupportive silence from most of his own MPs/ministers as opposition leaders all call for him to resign. He’s in big trouble.”
His former Good Morning Britain co-host Susanna Reid also shared a series of tweets criticising Johnson, writing: “An apology with an excuse is not an apology.”
In response to Reid, The Thick of It star Rebecca Front wrote: “Also an apology in the passive voice, for mistakes that ‘have been made’, rather than ‘that I have made’ doesn’t really scratch the surface.”
Reid then questioned: “In the Commons are MPs who will rally for the Prime Minister and opponents who will jeer him. In the real world are people who suffered grievous loss on the day this party took place. How many of them will forgive him after that excuse-apology?”
Author Sathnam Sanghera tweeted: “The shamelessness. The barefaced lying. The arrogance. The sense of exceptionalism. Not to mention the corruption erupting constantly from this government in the background.”
Responding to Johnson’s claim that he didn’t know the event was a party, Richard Osman joked: “I’m going to need a couple of stiff workplace events to get over this.”
“Boris Johnson must be furious with Boris Johnson for admitting he was indeed at a party that Boris Johnson had said didn’t even happen,” comedian David Schneider added.
Joe Lycett joked: “@BorisJohnson that must have been tuff babe, proud of u xoxo.”
The Twitter account of Jonathan Pie, the comedy political pundit created by Tom Walker, tweeted: “You can shove your ‘heartfelt apologies’ up your a***, along with your manufactured excuses and obvious lies, and swivel on them.”