Voices: What Boris Johnson said in his Partygate defence dossier – and what he really meant

What he wrote: As I made clear to the House of Commons on 25 May 2022, I take full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch at No 10.

What he really meant: It was nothing to do with me. I take full responsibility for my watch. Has anyone seen my watch?

What he said: The revelations in Sue Gray’s report shocked the public, and they shocked me. I therefore begin by renewing my apologies to the British people for what happened on my watch.

What he meant: I was shocked to discover that people were so upset. For whom did they think they were voting?

What he said: The committee has now investigated this matter for 10 months.

What he meant: Bo-oring! Get on with it. Chuck us some bread rolls, someone.

What he said: It is clear from that investigation that there is no evidence at all that supports an allegation that I intentionally or recklessly misled the House. The only exception is the assertions of the discredited Dominic Cummings.

What he meant: Make up your minds, Remoaners. Do you want to believe the discredited genius behind the £350m on the side of the bus, or the discredited former prime minister?

What he said: Despite the way that those photographs have been weaponised by the media, they in fact provide further support that this was in no sense “obvious”.

What he meant: When I say “weaponised”, I mean “published”.

What he said: I was the prime minister of the country, working day and night to manage the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What he meant: Night and day. Round the clock. Fuelled by “reasonably necessary” supplies of alcohol and inspired by loud music. My innovative multisensory approach to government.

What he said: Some people have suggested that we considered ourselves to be in a guidance-free bubble where the requirements we imposed on the rest of the country did not apply. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What he meant: They are of course quite right. Just like Neil Ferguson, we acted in the belief that we were immune, and that the rules for the little people didn’t apply to us.

What he said: When I spoke in parliament on 1 and 8 December 2021, I did not know that any of the events that I had attended later escalated beyond what was lawful after I left.

What he meant: I knew nothing and took great care not to find out. On some of these occasions my parting words may have been, “Party your brains out”, by which I meant, “Go home now and drink lots of water.”

What he said: To this day it remains unclear to me – and I believe the prime minister may feel the same – how precisely we committed an offence under the regulations.

What he meant: When I said I accepted the police findings, I meant they got it totally wrong, but I’m not mad enough to challenge them in court and the backstabbing snake agrees with me.

What he said: I wish, in retrospect, that we had given some thought to how these events could be perceived.

What he meant: Now I am telling the truth.

What he said: I might well have made observations in speeches about social distancing, and whether it was being perfectly observed.

What he meant: I am guilty. I am not denying that I said: “This is probably the most unsocially distanced gathering in the UK right now.” Guilty, that is, of nothing more than working flat out trying to save the British people from a terrible new disease.

What he said: As I have said, I was working and my mind was decisively elsewhere.

What he meant: I had literally no idea that I was even prime minister.

What he said: I used “party” as shorthand because that is how it was being referred to in the media.

What he meant: I blame the media.

What he said: In forming my honest and reasonable belief, I also relied on what I had not been told.

What he meant: What is truth? Who can say someone is lying unless they can see into a man’s soul? Who can see anything in my turbid soul? Shall I quote some Latin?

What he said: If the committee says that I am lying about what I knew or thought, because I “must have known”, then that logic applies equally to others who have given evidence to the Cabinet Office inquiry and this committee.

What he meant: I will bring them all down with me.

What he said: Boris Johnson MP, 20 March 2023.

What he meant: Who among us can say who I am and what are the contents of my mind?