Boris Johnson 'will admit serious mistakes in Partygate' and says he regrets ...

Boris Johnson 'will admit serious mistakes in Partygate' and says he regrets ...
Boris Johnson 'will admit serious mistakes in Partygate' and says he regrets ...

Boris Johnson will acknowledge 'serious mistakes' over the Partygate affair as he battles to persuade his MPs – and the country – that he should keep his job.

The Prime Minister has told allies he bitterly regrets the lax enforcement of lockdown rules in No 10.

The saga has seen police called in to investigate whether a string of parties and gatherings broke Covid laws.

His response to the report by Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray is expected to begin with an apology for the anger caused by the events, and acknowledgment that they should never have happened.

One ally told the Daily Mail: 'He knows he has made serious mistakes, but he believes he is still the right man to lead this country.' 

The Prime Minister is trialling the approach during a series of one-on-one meetings with wavering Tories.

The Prime Minister is expected to issue an apology and acknowledge that Partygate mistakes should never happened once he receives the report by Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray

The Prime Minister is expected to issue an apology and acknowledge that Partygate mistakes should never happened once he receives the report by Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray

Boris Johnson and staff pictured with wine in Downing Street garden in May 2020

Boris Johnson and staff pictured with wine in Downing Street garden in May 2020

Bolton MP Mark Logan, who last week hinted he thought the PM should go, today said a meeting with Mr Johnson had convinced him that he had the capacity to get his premiership back on track.

Mr Logan told Sky News: 'I could see he feels real contrition. He feels very sorry for the mistakes which have been made. But when he digs deep I think he can continue to lead this country.'

Fellow Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh said: 'I think opinion is calming down at the moment.

'I think when the history of this is written, people will think it's almost ridiculous that in the midst of all these global challenges that we face, that serious people were calling on the Prime Minister to resign because of some social events... for which he's apologised.'

In the Commons today, Mr Johnson rejected Labour calls to resign. He told MPs he was 'getting on with the job', though he acknowledged that the Opposition and others 'want me out of the way'.

He ducked direct questions about lockdown-busting parties, saying there was 'simply no way... I can comment on the investigation that is currently taking place'.

The report by Sue Gray (pictured) had been expected by some to be made public today. Its release is anticipated within the coming days

The report by Sue Gray (pictured) had been expected by some to be made public today. Its release is anticipated within the coming days 

Several Tory MPs today remained poised to submit letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister as soon as Miss Gray's report is published.

Some believe the threshold of 54 letters could be passed in the coming days, paving the way for a formal vote over his leadership.

But Downing Street has now launched a major drive to bring wavering MPs back onside. Mr Johnson today held one-to-one meetings with 15 MPs to listen to their concerns and explain his strategy for restoring Tory fortunes.

Amid rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia, one senior Tory suggested any confidence vote might have to be delayed for weeks if Vladimir Putin invades the country in the coming days.

And senior ministers continued to urge MPs and the public to focus on wider issues, such as Covid and the cost of living. 

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said: 'We need to get a sense of proportion and start thinking about Boris Johnson's leadership in the round – he delivered the furlough scheme, which protected millions, he delivered the vaccine programme.'

No. 10 staff 'are paralysed' as ministers complain about slow decision-making while they wait for Sue Gray's report into Partygate

The heart of government was last night said to be 'paralysed' as the wait for the report into the Partygate storm dragged on for another day.

Ministers complained it was growing increasingly difficult to get decisions from No 10 as Boris Johnson and senior officials awaited the outcome of the inquiry by Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray.

The report, which had been expected yesterday, could still be published today. But last night there were fears it may be delayed until next week.

Its findings were passed on to the Metropolitan Police at the weekend, prompting Dame Cressida Dick to launch a formal investigation into claims that lockdown laws were broken.

But last night, the report had still not been submitted to Downing Street, leaving the Prime Minister in limbo and a string of senior officials waiting to learn their fates.

Ministers complained it was growing difficult to get decisions from No 10 as Boris Johnson (pictured) and officials awaited the outcome of the inquiry by Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray

Ministers complained it was growing difficult to get decisions from No 10 as Boris Johnson (pictured) and officials awaited the outcome of the inquiry by Whitehall ethics chief Sue Gray

Downing Street denied that the crisis had led to a go-slow at the heart of government.

Mr Johnson yesterday insisted he was 'getting on with the job', pointing to the efforts on Ukraine and the lifting of Covid regulations today. 

But one Whitehall source said it was proving impossible to get decisions out of No 10 – or even arrange meetings with the PM to discuss vital issues.

'No 10 is completely paralysed,' the source said. 'There are important meetings that are not happening because the PM is too busy seeing MPs to try and shore up support. 

'Decisions are not being taken because everyone is waiting to learn about their own futures. If it drags on it will be unsustainable.'

Sources said government lawyers were having to go through the report with a fine-tooth comb to ensure it did not prejudice the police inquiry.

The report's findings were given to the Met Police at the weekend, prompting Dame Cressida Dick (pictured) to launch an investigation into claims that lockdown laws were broken

The report's findings were given to the Met Police at the weekend, prompting Dame Cressida Dick (pictured) to launch an investigation into claims that lockdown laws were broken

One source blamed Dame Cressida for the delay and criticised her decision to drop the Met's previous approach of waiting for Miss Gray's report to be published before deciding on whether to take action.

Meanwhile, another source suggested the report would have to be 'significantly toned down' now that the police probe has been launched, adding: 'It is very difficult to see how you can publish direct evidence against named people who might be the subject of a police inquiry.'

Downing Street has committed to publishing the report in full within hours of receiving it, with Mr Johnson expected to make an immediate statement.

The PM yesterday confirmed that he might have to resign if the report finds he knowingly misled Parliament over parties in No 10. 

He said he was covered by the ministerial code, which makes misleading parliament a resignation issue.

But allies of the PM are confident that although he previously told MPs that 'rules were followed at all times', he is not guilty of knowingly misleading the House as that is what he believed to be true at the time.

The steady stream of allegations over alleged breaches of the rules have undermined

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