Tory MPs turn on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, call on him to resign after apology for attending party during lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing resounding calls to resign after he finally admitted attending a party while the country was in lockdown.

So-called 'partygate' started over a month ago. Since then, he's repeatedly denied there were any illegal gatherings at 10 Downing Street during the lockdown months. But he admitted on Wednesday (local time) that he did attend a party at Number 10 in the garden after all, and apologised.

"I have learned enough to know that there were things we simply did not get right," he said.

An email sent to around 100 staff members in 2020 suggested they "make the most of the lovely weather" with some socially-distanced BYO drinks at a time when members of the public could only meet up with one other person. 

Johnson claims he thought the 'party' was a work event.

"I should have recognised that, even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way."

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer was the first of many to call for his immediate resignation.

"After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road, his defence is that he didn't realise he was at a party," he says.

"Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?"

Johnson did not rule out standing down as Prime Minister, but repeatedly urged MPs to wait for the outcome of the official investigation into the Downing Street parties before demanding his resignation.

Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson. Photo credit: Reuters

The calls for his resignation aren't just from the opposition though - some of his own MPs think he should go too.

Conservative MP William Wragg says Johnson's position is "untenable".

"I don't think it should be left to the findings of a civil servant to determine the future of the Prime Minister and indeed who governs this country," he told BBC Radio 4

And another Conservative MP, Caroline Nokes, agrees, saying he should resign now because he's "damaging" the entire party's brand.

"Regretfully, he looks like a liability," she says. "And I think he either goes now, or he goes in three years' time at a general election."

Many members of the public also think he should leave.

"We were all obeying rules and he didn't," one person says.

"Utter rubbish, utterly a load of tripe, he's not apologising really, still thinks he’s done nothing wrong," another says.

It'll take 54 Conservative MPs to turn against Johnson to launch a leadership challenge.