Boris Johnson has accused anyone who suspects he deliberately covered up lockdown parties in No 10 of being “out of their mind”.
The former prime minister said the claim was “strictly for the birds”, despite being under investigation for allegedly lying to Parliament over lockdown breaches.
Mr Johnson, in an interview with the Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who he is believed to have recommended for a peerage, said he thought their mid-pandemic gatherings were “within the rules”.
He insisted he had to be “respectful” to the cross-party Commons Privileges Committee that is undertaking the inquiry into him.
“But I’ll just repeat what I’ve said before, and I hope it’s obvious to everybody, that anybody who thinks I was knowingly going to parties that were breaking lockdown rules in No 10, or then knowingly covering up parties that were illicit that other people were going to, that’s all strictly for the birds,” he added.
“And if anybody thinks like that, they’re out of their mind.”
Last year, Sir Keir Starmer said the PM is “lying through his teeth” about parties in Downing Street.
It came after Johnson said “all guidance was followed” in Number 10 during lockdown:
Before he issued this apology: