WHEN the Metropolitan Police finally announced it would investigate the Downing Street parties, Boris Johnson said he welcomed the decision.

Johnson claimed the Met’s investigation into illegal lockdown gatherings would "help to draw a line under matters".

But now the Prime Minister, his wife and the Chancellor have all been issued fixed-penalty notices (along with 47 other people that are yet unknown) for Covid lockdown parties, it's unclear if that line is anywhere in sight.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly denied that parties took place in Downing Street and that he broke the rules.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross refuses to call on Boris Johnson to quit over partygate fine

The Chancellor has too, with Rishi Sunak in the House of Commons on December 7, saying: “No, I did not attend any parties”.

This has led to accusations from opposition parties that the PM lied and misled parliament, subsequently breaking the ministerial code. These accusations prompted calls for resignation - and those calls only got louder as the Met announced its fines.

With that in mind, here are eight times Johnson denied breaking the rules.

December 1, 2021

At the start of December, responding to Labour Party leader Keir Starmer’s question about whether parties had been held at Downing Street, Johnson said: “What I can tell the right honourable gentleman is that all guidance was followed completely in No 10.”

December 7, 2021

Asked by the BBC about Downing Street parties, the Prime Minister simply said: “All the guidelines were observed.”

The National: Rishi Sunak, left, and Boris Johnson have both been fined by police for breaking lockdown regulationsRishi Sunak, left, and Boris Johnson have both been fined by police for breaking lockdown regulations

December 8, 2021

In early December, Johnson told the House of Commons: “May I begin by saying that I understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing No. 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures?

“I can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules, because I was also furious to see that clip.

“I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologise for the impression that it gives.

“I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no covid rules were broken.

“That is what I have been repeatedly assured. But I have asked the Cabinet Secretary to establish all the facts and to report back as soon as possible. It goes without saying that if those rules were broken, there will be disciplinary action for all those involved.

“This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this House I shall have further such meetings later today.”

Johnson also said: “I apologise for the impression that has been given that staff in Downing Street take this less than seriously. I’m sickened myself and furious about that.

And at a Downing Street press conference on the same day, the PM said: “… all the evidence I can see, people in this building have stayed within the rules … if that turns out not to be the case … and people wish to bring allegations to my attention or to the police … then of course there will be proper sanctions …”

December 13, 2021

Asked by Sky News about lockdown parties, the PM said: “I can tell you once again that I certainly broke no rules … all that is being looked into.”

December 20, 2021

Talking specifically about the Guardian’s revelation that No 10 staff were seen drinking in the PM’s garden, he said: “Those were people at work, talking about work. I have said what I have to say about that.”

The National: Some 50 people have been fined over Whitehall partiesSome 50 people have been fined over Whitehall parties

January 12

Johnson admitted in the Commons that he attended an event in the No 10 garden in May 2020, but said: “I believed implicitly that this was a work event, but with hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside.”

Who else had defended Boris Johnson?

Many in the Conservative Party sought to defend the PM, including senior ministers.

Nadine Dorries, January 31

The Culture Secretary took to defend the PM in a series of bizarre interviews, saying in January “the Prime Minister tells the truth”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon tells Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign

Conservative MP Conor Burns on January 25

The Northern Ireland Minister insisted Johnson’s birthday party was not premeditated, saying: “He was, in a sense, ambushed with a cake.” Burns later added he was told there was no cake.

Dominic Raab, December 20

In another defence of Johnson’s garden party, the deputy Prime Minister said the fact people were wearing suits showed it was a business meeting – not a party.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, March 18

The Leader of the House of Commons defended the Prime Minister during the Tory party conference, describing concern over lockdown parties at the heart of government as "fluff" and "fundamentally trivial".