Embattled chancellor Rishi Sunak considered resigning over partygate but settled for an apology instead.
The second in command to Boris Johnson was issued with a fixed penalty notice over lockdown breaches this week, plunging his political ambitions into chaos.
It is understood, according to The Times, he discussed his political future with his inner circle and decided he was unable to remain in post because he denied having attended parties. His mind was changed then he was reportedly warned that resigning would be seen as an attack on Johnson, and could damage succession hopes.
A source told the Times said Sunak was “getting humiliated for something he never wanted to do. He is a man of honour and he genuinely is thinking about whether he can still be part of this.”
The chancellor put out a statement on Tuesday evening offering an “unreserved apology”, but not stepping down, saying he understood “the rules must be applied stringently.
“I know people sacrificed a great deal during Covid, and they will find this situation upsetting. I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry. Like the prime minister, I am focused on delivering for the British people at this challenging time.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Boris Johnson released a short video clip apologising for the partygate breaches, in which his wife Carrie was also fined. He said he felt “an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people”, while the chancellor said he was “focused on delivering for the British people”.
The total number of fixed penalty notices handed out by the Metropolitan Police over the saga to officials breaching the rules in Downing Street and Whitehall, is now over 50.