CONSERVATIVES rallied round Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he apologised to the country for breaches of lockdown restrictions at Number 10.

Mr Johnson addressed the House of Commons today following the publication of a report by Second Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office Sue Gray into the socalled Partygate scandal.

Ms Gray’s report looked at 16 events over a 20 month period and said four alleged breaches did not meet the threshold of criminal investigation.

However, 12 are being examined by the Metropolitan police and, she said, as such she had to leave details of those out which had meant it was “not possible to provide a meaningful report”.

However, in the report she said several gatherings “should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did” and she identified “failures of leadership and judgment” in Downing Street.

She said: “Every citizen has been impacted by the pandemic. Everyone has made personal sacrifices, some the most profound, having been unable to see loved ones in their last moments or care for vulnerable family and friends.

“At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.”

She also said the “excessive consumption of alcohol” was not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.

Addressing the Commons yesterday, Mr Johnson said he is making changes to how Downing Street and the Cabinet Office is run.

He said the “fragmented” nature needs to be addressed, so he will create an office of the Prime Minister and he said it was time to review the civil service code of conduct.

In apologising for “the things we did not get right” he said: “I get it and I will fix it”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described Mr Johnson as “a man without shame”.

However, Neil Stock, the leader of Tory-run Tendring Council, said: “It’s a bit of a storm in a teacup.

“There’s general criticisms in the report, but there’s no smoking gun that many people are looking for.

“It doesn’t make Boris look good, but he has apologised and we need to move on.

“I don’t think it would be helpful for Boris to go – he was elected with a huge majority just two years ago.

“He’s got a job to do and needs to get on with it.”

Gazette: Sir Bernard Jenkin addresses the Commons. Picture: PASir Bernard Jenkin addresses the Commons. Picture: PA

Harwich and North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said: “Can he also, when he is restructuring Number 10, concentrate on the fact that the country wants results and can I commend his determination to restore cabinet government.

"It is on results over the next few months on which he will be judged.”

Clacton MP Giles Watling said: “I stand by my comments I am disappointed and there seems to be errors of judgement in leadership and I feel let down by the whole thing.

“Having said that, the prime minister put in a good performance to say he wants to get on with the job.

“He must not get in the way of good governance and must not make us unelectable - and the jury is still out on that - but we must wait for the police report.”