Rishi Sunak said he was “extremely and sincerely sorry” for the upset he caused by attending an anti-lockdown anniversary meeting for Boris Johnson.
The Chancelloralongside the Prime Minister and his wife Carrie Johnson, received a fixed penalty notice by the metropolitan police last week for violating covid rules on the event on June 19, 2020.
Speaking in Washington, where he will attend the IMF’s spring meeting, Mr Sunak apologized for the “hurt and anger” he caused his party door very well and said he had “always acted in good faith” when considering the matter in parliament.
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The Chancellor also denied considering quitting after receiving the fixed penalty notice.
It was reported that Mr Sunak had to be dissuaded from resigning after it took him around seven hours to issue an apology after receiving the fixed sentence.
“I paid the fixed fine immediately and am extremely and sincerely sorry for the hurt and anger this has caused so many people.
“I have always acted, I believe, in good faith with regard to what I have said in Parliament.”
When asked if he had considered quitting, he replied, “No. I’m concentrating on the job I have to do.”
It comes like the PM prepares to face parliamentary inquiry to find out if he lied to MPs about Downing Street parties during coronavirus lockdowns.
Mr Johnson, who was fined last week for attending an anti-lockdown event on his 56th birthday, is believed to have participated in more than 12 events being investigated by Scotland Yard.
Earlier Thursday, Senior Tory MP Steve Baker said the Prime Minister should be ‘long gone’.
Mr Baker had proposed only two days ago the Prime Minister his support after he apologized to the Commons following his fine for breaking lockdown rules.
He revealed his change of heart as MPs debated whether to order an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister had misled them party door.
But, speaking with Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby in India where he is on a two-day official visit, the Prime Minister said he had ‘absolutely nothing to hide’ on partygate.
“People were saying we looked like we were trying to stop stuff. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want people to be able to say that. I don’t want it to go on forever.” he said.
“But, frankly, I have absolutely nothing to hide. If that’s what the opposition wants to talk about, that’s fine.”
Asked about Mr Baker having publicly called for him to quit, Mr Johnson added: ‘I understand people’s feelings. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.’
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Pushed on whether the current situation he finds himself in is serious, the Prime Minister replied: “Of course I think it is serious.
“But I also think we have huge issues that people expect us to tackle.
“I think people want us to continue our work to move the country forward.”
When asked if he believed the Tories would allow him to lead the party in the next general election, he replied: “Of course I am.
“What I’m determined to do is make sure we continue with our unification and upscaling program.”
In the meantime, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that they do not post any further partygate updates before the municipal elections in May.
Scotland Yard told Sky News the investigation will continue and officers will continue to recommend fines – but the force will not issue a media advisory on the dismissals until after the May 5 election.
So far, more than 50 fines have been issued in relation to lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street and across Whitehall.
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