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'Partygate': Boris Johnson faces fresh calls to resign after lockdown gatherings report is published

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street as he makes his way to the House of Commons, in London, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street as he makes his way to the House of Commons, in London, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 Copyright Credit: AP
Copyright Credit: AP
By AP with Euronews
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"The prime minister took us all for fools" and "showed himself unfit for office", said opposition leader Keir Starmer

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued another apology on Monday for lockdown gatherings at the heart of the UK government.

It came after senior civil servant Sue Gray's report found "failures of leadership" over the parties in Downing Street. She said "some of the events should not have been allowed to take place" and that "some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify".

Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition party, and Ian Blackford, the Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), both renewed their call for Johnson to step down.

"The prime minister himself is now subject to criminal investigation," said Starmer, citing the 12 gatherings the Metropolitan Police are now probing.

"The report discloses the most damning conclusion possible," he continued, adding that "the prime minister took us all for fools" and "showed himself unfit for office".

He urged Conservative lawmakers to remove him from office.

Starmer was speaking after UK PM Johnson had come to the House of Commons to give a statement on Gray's report.

"Firstly, I want to say sorry," said Johnson, before adding he understood the "anger that people feel" and "it isn't enough to say sorry".

He said measures would be announced in the coming days to improve the working of the UK government.

"I get it and I will fix it," he said.

"I know what the issue is," he added: "It's whether this government can be trusted to deliver and I say 'yes'."

He cited Brexit and the COVID-19 vaccination campaign as proof that his government can deliver.

Watch: Johnson's parties apology and Starmer's response

The "partygate" claims have caused public anger, led some Conservative lawmakers to call for Johnson’s resignation and triggered intense infighting inside the ruling party.

Some Tory MPs say they will push for a no-confidence vote if Gray finds Johnson was at fault or lied to Parliament about his actions.

The British PM has denied personal wrongdoing and said he has “absolutely no intention” of resigning.

The Metropolitan Police has also faced criticism itself for initially declining to investigate the allegations of parties at Downing Street.

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