Keir Starmer gave his fiercest PMQs performance yet as he accused Boris Johnson of “lying through his teeth” and told him to resign.
The Labour leader smacked down the prime minister after he admitted attending the No10 “bring your own booze” party during lockdown.
Johnson apologised but defended his actions by saying he believed it was a “work event” permitted under the rules.
But Starmer told him the “party’s over” and the British public could see he had been “lying through his teeth” about parties at Downing Street.
"Can't the prime minister see why the British public think he is lying through his teeth?" asks Sir Keir Starmer
PM says he accepts "we should've done things differently on that evening"#PMQshttps://t.co/cXM9HUgeXnpic.twitter.com/D8WdnF5sVi
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) January 12, 2022
Starmer told the Commons: “Everyone can see what happened, it started with reports of boozy parties in Downing Street during lockdown.
“The prime minister pretended that he had been assured there were no parties, how that fits with his defence now I do not know.
“Then the video landed, blowing the prime minister’s first defence out of the water, so then he pretended...he was sickened and furious about the parties, now it turns out he was at the parties all along.
“Can’t the prime minister see why the British public think he’s lying through his teeth?”
Johnson hit back: “What he said is wrong in several key respects, but that does not detract from the basic point that I want to make today, which is that I accept that we should have done things differently on that evening.
“As I said to the house, I believe that the events in question were within the guidance and were within the rules, and that was certainly the assumption on which I operated.
“He should wait before he jumps to conclusions, a lawyer should respect the inquiry, I hope that he will wait until the facts are established and brought to this house.”
Labour MP Toby Perkins said Johnson has “debased” the office of prime minister and his colleague Chris Bryant questioned “how stupid” Johnson thinks the British public are.
The Rhondda MP, who chairs the Commons committee on standards, said: “So, the Prime Minister didn’t spot that he was at a social event. That’s the excuse isn’t it? Come off it.”
“I mean how stupid does the Prime Minister think the British people are?”
The prime minister has been under intense pressure to divulge whether or not he attended a “BYOB” party in the No10 garden on May 20, 2020.
Some Conservative MPs have gone on the record with their fury, with red wall MP Christian Wakeford saying: “How do you defend the indefensible? You can’t!
“It’s embarrassing and what’s worse is it further erodes trust in politics when it’s already low. We need openness, trust and honesty in our politics now more than ever and that starts from the top!”
Welsh secretary Simon Hart was the first cabinet minister to break ranks on Downing Street party row, saying he accepted lockdown parties at Downing Street had caused “frustration, hurt and indignation”.
WalesOnline reported he said: “We have to get to the bottom of this. Judgement will need to be made about what happens next.”
Tory backbencher Nigel Mills warned that any senior figure who willingly attended the event could not have a position setting Covid-19 policy.
Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said if Johnson misled parliament “then he must resign”.
Despite huge public and press interest, ministers and the prime minister’s official spokesman have previously refused to go into details while an investigation is ongoing.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.