I will come to Ukraine in a moment – since I’ve just left a virtual meeting with President Biden, President Macron, Chancellor Scholz and eight other world leaders – but let me begin in all humility by saying that on the 12 April I received a fixed penalty notice relating to an event in Downing Street on 19 of June 2020.
I paid the fine immediately and I offered the British people a full apology, and I take this opportunity, on the first available sitting day, to repeat my wholehearted apology to the house.
As soon as I received the notice, I acknowledged the hurt and the anger, and I said that people had a right to expect better of their prime minister, and I repeat that again in the house now.
Let me also say – not by way of mitigation or excuse but purely because it explains my previous words in this house – that it did not occur to me, then or subsequently, that a gathering in the cabinet room just before a vital meeting on Covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules.
I repeat: that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.
I respect the outcome of the police investigation, which is still underway, and I can only say that I will respect their decision-making and always take the appropriate steps, and as the house will know, I have already taken significant steps to change the way things work in No 10.
And it is precisely because I know that so many people are angry and disappointed, that I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people, and to respond in the best traditions of our country to Putin’s barbaric onslaught against Ukraine.