I listened to Boris Johnson defending himself this afternoon in the House of Commons. Having heard the many and various questions which the opposition parties asked him, and having witnessed the silencing of his party as those questions piled on, I thought I’d summarise, not the words, but the substance and the spirit, of Johnson’s answers to all those questions, as well as his behaviour since the news of the Downing Street parties first broke :

‘I’m sorry.
I’m really sorry.
All I can say is, I’m sorry.
I mean it, I really do, I’m sorry. That’s all I can say.
I made a mistake. I accept that I made a mistake. I certainly can’t deny that I made a mistake. It was an error of judgment. I whole-heartedly acknowledge that error of judgment.
Can we talk about something else now?
I understand why people don’t believe it was an error of judgment. It didn’t look like an error of judgment. It looked like the deliberate act that it was. But it wasn’t. It was an error of judgment. And for that I give this apology. This heart-felt apology. I’m very very sorry.
Please can we talk about something else?
I didn’t lie to any-one. I didn’t mislead any-one. I didn’t tell a single untruth, even though they were untruths. I know that what I said wasn’t true. But I didn’t know it wasn’t true even though I did.
I wish we could talk about something else now.
It happened. I’m in no position to say it didn’t happen. It did. But I absolutely didn’t know at the time it was happening. It clearly was, which I knew at the time, but I didn’t know it was.
For that I’m sorry.
Really, really sorry. I ask you all to accept my apologies. My profound, meaningful and sincere apologies. I’ve been punished for whatever it is I might have done, if indeed I did it, which I did. That’s why I’m sorry. I’m really, really, really sorry.
That’s all I have to say.
So now, can we all, please, talk about something else?’

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