Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted he hadn’t lied to Parliament about the event in May 2020, which he has admitted attending for 25 minutes, and body language expert Judi James has had her say
In a grovelling interview breaking cover for the first time in days, Boris Johnson has claimed he was unaware a boozy lockdown bash in the Downing Street garden broke Covid rules.
The Prime Minister insisted he hadn’t lied to Parliament about the event in May 2020, which he has admitted attending for 25 minutes.
Speaking on a visit to a hospital in north London, he said: “I do know how infuriating it must be for people up and down the country, in view of the huge sacrifices people have made… to think that didn’t happen in 10 Downing Street.
“On that point, nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules, that the event in question was something that wasn’t a work event, and as I said in the House of Commons when I went out into that garden, I thought that I was attending a work event.”
Analysing Mr Johnson’s body language and demeanour throughout the interview, body language expert Judi James said he appeared anxious, pleading and submissive.
Read Judi James’ full body language analysis below
If Boris felt that having two thirds of his face covered with a mask would play to his advantage in any way he was wrong. In essence this was pretty much the same speech he had made during PMQs only this time we got an undiluted glimpse at his eye expression while his mask magnified his vocal tone and his breathing.
The eyes are the most telling part of the body and this time around there were no distractions.
With his head lowered and his hands apparently clasped behind his back, this version of Boris looked submissive and at times pleading.
Even in a mask his discomfort felt tangible. Like his PMQ appearance he turned the answer to a question into a mini speech, taking control with the words ‘I want to begin by…’ as he did in the Commons.
Boris looked exhausted and distressed, mainly because his right eye appeared to be reddened and even watery. Unlike his crisper, more assured tone as he apologized at PMQ, he was now stammering and using verbal fillers, with the ‘er’s’ sounding like he was stalling for time.
His flurry of blinks as he framed his apology before looking down in an eye cut-off gesture hinted at awkwardness or inner anxiety.
His offer of ‘apologies to everybody…’ came with a submissive shake of the head and when he repeated his empathetic bit about ‘I know how infuriating it must be…’, which is a normal type of reference in an effective apology, his breathing sounded shallow which can suggest stress.
His alteration of body language mood came when he switched to a display of what looked intended as innocence.
AFP via Getty Images)
His eyes widened as he said ‘Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules’.
At this point the wide eye expression looked more schoolboy than PM. The non-verbal tone continued as he described walking out into ‘that garden’ thinking he was attending a work event.
His tone became more assured as he repeated his comment that we should wait to ‘see what Sue Gray has to say’.