I completely understand the anger that many people justifiably feel about the social events that took place at No10 Downing Street during lockdown. They should not have taken place and it is inexcusable that they did so. We cannot have one rule for those working in government and a different one for the rest of the population. That is simply unfair on the majority who did obey the rules, often at considerable personal sacrifice and distress. I have made that view very clear to my Party whips.
I am glad that the Prime Minister apologised in Parliament on Wednesday for what happened. I have already welcomed the inquiry being carried out by Sue Gray. The public are entitled to a full investigation.
Ms Gray has a very high reputation for impartiality and integrity and her record shows that she reaches judgements without fear or favour. I trust her to carry out her inquiry professionally and thoroughly and will await her report. I do, however, repeat what I said when the inquiry was launched, namely that anyone whom she finds to have breached the rules must expect to face the consequences of their actions. The sooner she is able to report, the better.
Although I have no personal knowledge of the events, I would like to add my personal apology to everyone for the offence and distress that this conduct has caused.