SWINDON MPs welcomed the prime minister's apology for attending a Downing Street party during the pandemic - but readers and the town's Labour group called for Boris Johnson to resign.

Swindon Labour leader Jim Grant said: “This apology is not anywhere near enough. It’s a slap in the face for all the people who diligently followed the rules.

“People suffered loneliness, hurt and grief during the pandemic. The PM’s partying is hurtful to all of them.

“He should resign and I think both Tory MPs and the council leader should tell the Swindon public if they think Boris is still fit to be PM.

“212 people in Swindon died from coronavirus in 2020. We now know that at the same time Boris Johnson, his wife and team enjoyed lockdown-busting boozy parties at No 10.

“Countless more lost special moments – missed funerals, weddings and crucial life events. Now it is clear that while we suffered – while we all made huge sacrifices to follow the rules - Boris Johnson and his team were drinking and laughing away. They were laughing at us.”

Mr Johnson told the House of Commons yesterday: “When I went into the garden to thank groups of staff before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I believed implicitly that this was a work event.

“With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside and I should have recognised that - even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance - there would be millions of people who would simply not see it that way, people who suffered terribly.

“To them, I offer my heartfelt apologies.”

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: "The prime minister has given a personal apology, taking responsibility. We all made sacrifices, we all knew the rules.

"Rightly, there is a full, independent investigation, conducted by Sue Gray, respected across the political divide, which will be thorough."

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland added: "I was glad to see an apology being made and a recognition of the many sacrifices that were made to comply with the rules.

"I hope that the ongoing investigation will reach its findings as soon as possible."

Mr Johnson added: “I know millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months..

“I know the rage they feel with me and 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.”

In a poll of 333 Adver readers, 79 per cent wanted the PM to resign, 19 per cent wanted him to stay in the top job, and two per cent were unsure.

Anthony Spencer said: “If he finds lying to everyone this easy, then we should be worried about what else he is happy to lie about.”

Ron Lewis said: “He can shove his apologies where the sun doesn’t shine. He’s got to go.”

Laura Olivier added: “Anyone else in any other job would be sacked and face legal battles, but blubbering Boris is going to just say sorry? It’s a disgrace.”

Kay Howe said: “The apology was not worth the breath he used to say it.”

William Screech disagreed: “No one actually cares about a small gathering during lockdown.”

Isaac Stryder said: “I would rather he resign over the £37 billion Test and Trace or the 150,000 dead Brits but this would do I suppose.”

Jason Goodenough said: “He should be sacked.”

Lynne Williams said: “He thought it was a work meeting with wine and food? Pull the other one.”

Gavin Vanstein said: “He should resign but he will not as he has no accountability.”

Shaun Dunham said: “Everyone who attended should be fined and disciplined.”

Stephen Sullivan said: “He shouldn’t resign, the next guy will only do the same thing."