BORIS Johnson has categorically denied being warned that a party in the Downing St garden would break lockdown rules, after it was claimed by his former aide. 

Today the Prime Minister appeared in public for the first time since he admitted attending the garden party on May 20,2020 while the country was under strict lockdown. 

Mr Johnson had been isolating since last Thursday after a family member tested positive for coronavirus, despite not being obliged to do so as he has been triple vaccinated. 

Dominic Cummings claimed yesterday that he had personally warned Mr Johnson that the garden party broke lockdown rules - a claim the PM denied when challenged by journalists.

He previously told MPs that he did not know it was a party when he attended, and believed it was a “work event”.

Mr Johnson said: “No, nobody told me that what we were doing was, as you say, against the rules...that we were going to do something that wasn’t a work event.”

When asked if Mr Cummings was lying, the Prime Minister said: “I can tell you categorically that nobody told me and nobody said that this was something that was against the rules, it was a breach of the Covid rules, or you’re doing something that wasn’t a work event/
“Frankly, I can’t imagine why on earth it would have gone ahead, or why it would have been allowed to go ahead."

Mr Johnson was speaking during a visit to a hospital in London, and was asked repeatedly if he would resign if he was found to have misled parliament.

However he avoided answering directly, instead saying that he would await the outcome of the inquiry by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant looking at an array of alleged parties across Whitehall throughout the pandemic.

Mr Johnson said: "I will come back to Parliament with a full account when the inquiry reports, but it would be quite wrong of me to anticipate or prejudge whatever the inquiry may conclude."

Asked if it was a "moment of shame" for him when he had to apologise to the Queen when it emerged that his senior staff held two drink-fuelled parties in No.10 on the even of her husband's funeral, Mr Johnson said: "I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened. And I can only renew my apologies both to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgements that were made and for which I take full responsibility."

His comments come following a motion by the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Holyrood calling for him to resign.

The move by the party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton will put the Scottish Conservatives in a bind if it is brought forward to a vote.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross was the first Conservative MP to publicly call for the Prime Minister's resignation, with five others following him.

There are reports of as many as 35 letters of no confidence having been submitted to the powerful 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs, with 54 needed in total to trigger a possible leadership election.

Despite Mr Johnson's cabinet colleagues immediately coming out in support of him last week, several have since wavered.

Earlier today Rishi Sunak cut short an interview with reporters when he was asked if he gave Mr Johnson his full backing, while Justice Secretary Dominic Raab acknowledged that Mr Johnson would have to resign if he was found to have lied to Parliament.

Chancellor Sunak said he believed Mr Johnson when he said he did not know he was attending a party and supported his appeal for patience while the Gray inquiry is ongoing.

However pressed on whether he unequivocally supported the Prime Minister, the Chancellor abruptly broke off the interview and walked off with his microphone still attached.

HeraldScotland: Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves interview when asked about his support for the PM. Image: Sky News Chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves interview when asked about his support for the PM. Image: Sky News

Mr Raab, meanwhile, told various radio programmes that Mr Cummings’s claims were “nonsense” but said Mr Johnson would “normally” be expected to resign if he intentionally misled Parliament in the way the former aide has suggested.

He told Times Radio: “The suggestion that he lied is nonsense. He’s made it very clear to the House of Commons that questions on this… that he thought it was a work event.”

Pressed on what would be expected if Mr Johnson had lied to the Commons, the cabinet minister said: “If it’s lying, deliberate in the way you describe, if it’s not corrected immediately, it would normally under the ministerial code and the governance around Parliament be a resigning matter.”

Downing Street denied that the Prime Minister had lied, but acknowledged it would be a resigning matter if he “knowingly” misled the Commons.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The guidance is clear, the ministerial code is very clear on this point when it comes to knowingly misleading the House and the Prime Minister abides by that, and we fully support it.”

The Prime Minister will undoubtedly face further questions about lockdown parties from opposition MPs tomorrow, as he is questioned in the Commons at midday.