Boris Johnson has suggested he considered resigning as prime minister over Partygate, amid rumours he will soon face a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
Johnson was fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending a gathering inside the Cabinet Office on his birthday in 2020.
A number of Tory MPs have publicly called on the PM to step down since the publication of the Sue Gray report, which revealed Johnson presided over a culture of rule-breaking within Downing Street during lockdown and detailed shocking details of drunken behaviour within the corridors of power.
Watch: Boris Johnson says he was "very very surprised" to receive Partygate fine
In an interview with Mumsnet, Johnson repeated his apology for the events in Downing Street.
When told a teacher would have lost their job if they had broken the law, he was and asked why the same did not apply to the Prime Minister.
Johnson said: “If people look at the event in question it felt to me like a work event, I was there for a very short period of time in the Cabinet Office at my desk and, you know, I was very, very surprised and taken aback to get an FPN but of course I paid it.
Suggesting he had considered whether he should step down, he added: “I’ve thought about all these questions a lot, as you can imagine, and I just cannot see how actually it’d be responsible right now – given everything that is going ,on simply to abandon the project which I embarked on."
At this point, Johnson was interrupted and told some believe he has lost the trust of the people, to which the prime minister replied: “Let’s see about that and, yeah, I’m not going to deny the whole thing hasn’t been a totally miserable experience for people in government and we’ve got to learn from it and understand the mistakes we made and we’ve got to move forward.”
Despite repeated apologies, Johnson could soon face a backbench revolt amid rumours a leadership challenge could be on the cards.
For a vote to take place, a threshold of 54 Tory MPs must to send a letter to Sir Graham Brady - chairman of the 1922 Committee - declaring they have no confidence in their leader.
So far, at least 18 Tory MPs have publicly said they have submitted letters.
Earlier on Wednesday deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said he "doubts" even 40 letters have been handed in so far.
He told Sky News that he did not think Johnson would face a vote of no confidence next week.