UK's Johnson apologizes for lockdown party

"Mr Speaker, I want to apologize."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized to parliament on Wednesday (January 10) for a "bring your own booze" gathering that was held at his official residence during the country's first lockdown.

"I regret, I regret very much. I regret very much that we did not do things differently that evening."

This was the first time he admitted he had attended the party at 10 Downing Street on May 20, 2020, when COVID-19 rules limited social gatherings to the bare minimum.

"When I went into that garden just after 6 on the 20th of May 2020 to thank groups of staff before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I believed implicitly that this was a work event."

"I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months. // I know the rage they feel with me, and with the government I lead, when they think that in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make them."

Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said Johnson must now resign.

"After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who's run out of road, his defence, his defence that he didn't realize he was at a party. It is so ridiculous that it's actually offensive to the British public... He was hosting boozy parties in Downing Street. Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?"

In response, the prime minister deferred to an internal investigation into other allegations that he and his officials held rule-breaking parties.

Two snap polls on Tuesday showed well over half of the respondents thought Johnson should resign.

There are also mutterings that Conservative lawmakers, who can trigger a leadership challenge in parliament, are sharpening their knives.

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