Asked if he had lied to the public and Parliament, Mr Johnson told reporters: “No.”
“No. No one told me that what we were doing was, as you say, against the rules, that the event in question was something we were going to do, something that was not a work event,” Mr Johnson said.
Johnson avoided several questions as to whether he would resign if it was proved that he had misled Parliament.
Johnson apologized to Parliament last week for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering in Downing Street on May 20, 2020.
He said he had thought it was a work event and that he attended for 25 minutes to thank the staff.
But Dominic Cummings, an architect behind the UK’s exit from the EU and a former senior adviser who left the government under harsh conditions in November 2020, said Mr Johnson had agreed that the drinks party should continue.
Mr. Cummings said he and at least one other adviser told Principal Private Secretary (PPS) Martin Reynolds, the official who invited people to the party, that it should not continue.
The warning was sent via email, according to Mr. Cummings.
“I told PPS that the invitation broke the rules,” he said.
“The idea that PPS would be challenged by two of the leading figures in the building says he would check with the Prime Minister and if not – is not credible.”
Johnson’s apology came after ITV News published an email invitation from Mr Reynolds to the event.
Mr. Cummings said that after being advised to cancel the invitation, Mr Reynolds checked with Mr Johnson to see if it should proceed.
“The Prime Minister agreed that it should,” Mr Cummings said in his blog.
“The events of May 20 alone, regardless of the series of other events, mean that the Prime Minister lied to Parliament about parties,” he wrote.
Senior official Sue Gray is investigating about a dozen allegations of violations by Mr Johnson, his team and officials at 10 Downing Street.
Senior ministers have said people had to wait for the end of her investigation.
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