BORIS Johnson has apologised after admitting that he attended a Downing Street garden drinks party during the first lockdown as he battled on Wednesday to save his premiership.

Addressing the Commons under intense pressure from MPs, including those on his own government benches, to confirm whether he attended a drinks gathering at Number 10 on 20 May 2020, the Prime Minister said he had "learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right".

"I want to apologise," Johnson said, adding that he "must take responsibility" for events that took place.

The Prime Minister admitted he "went into that garden just after 6pm on 20 May 2020 to thank staff" but "believed implicitly that this was a work event".

READ MORE: PMQs: Live updates as Boris Johnson faces a grilling on No 10's lockdown parties

"With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them," the PM continued.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the public “rage” over the incident but insisted he thought it could have been technically within the rules.

Johnson told MPs that he attended the May 20 2020 gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff”.

“I believed implicitly that this was a work event,” he said.

But “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside, I should have found some other way to thank them, and I should have recognised that – even if it could have been said technically to fall within the guidance – there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way.”

Johnson acknowledged that included “people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside” adding: “To them and to this House, I offer my heartfelt apologies.”

He said that senior official Sue Gray should be allowed to complete her inquiry into a series of alleged parties held during lockdown in No 10 and Whitehall “so that the full facts can be established”.

Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds invited colleagues to “socially distanced drinks” on May 20, 2020 to “make the most of the lovely weather” – urging them to “bring your own booze”.

The Prime Minister acknowledged public anger: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.“Though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the Prime Minister to resign.

“After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road,” Sir Keir said.

“His defence … that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.”

He added: “The party’s over, Prime Minister. The only question is will the British public kick him out, will his party kick him out or will he do the decent thing and resign?”

Responding to the Prime Minister's admission, Sir Keir Starmer called for Johnson to resign, branding his defence as "so ridiculous that it is actually offensive to the British people".

"The party is over Prime Minister," the Labour leader said, adding that Johnson has "run out of road".

Downing Street had previously refused to say if Johnson was present at the event which it is understood he and his now wife attended along with around 40 others at a time when such gatherings were banned.

The PM reiterated that it is a matter for Sue Gray, the senior civil servant investigating a series of reported parties in Downing Street and elsewhere in Whitehall over the course of 2020, to determine the exact details of what happened.