A DORSET MP has described the prime minster’s apology for the Number 10 drinks party as “the best way” to respond, but said the incident was “badly mishandled”.

Sir Robert Syms, MP for Poole, has said Boris Johnson was right to apologise for the incident but that he, other MPs, and the public still “don’t really know what happened”.

Speaking to the Daily Echo shortly after the prime minister apologised at PMQs in the House of Commons, Sir Robert said: “Boris was very careful to apologise and not appear too combative. He was apologetic all the way through and that was the best way to handle the situation.

“The real problem is, we don’t really know what happened. The way some of those who have a downer on the PM explain it, you’d think there was a ballroom dance or disco taking place. If the communication had said you’re welcome to use the garden for a cup of tea, we may not be talking about this. But simply the fact they said bring a bottle gives the suggestion it was a frivolous event.

“What he said today should have been said a month ago when the issue came up.”

When asked whether PMQs presented the ideal opportunity for Johnson to explain exactly what happened, Sir Robert suggested the enquiry set up to investigate the incident would answer those questions better.

He said: “These things always take longer than you think but most of us in parliament hope Sue Gray will deliver a straight report ASAP to determine what happened. There could even be substantial issues we don’t know about like other parties or whatever it may be. So it’s best to let Sue Gray get on with her job.”

Despite saying the prime minster shouldn’t resign, Sir Robert criticised Number 10’s handling of the incident.

He added: “This was badly handled after the initial misjudgement. All PMs get into trouble but then it’s about how they deal with the crisis. Number 10’s process for this sort of thing isn’t good.

“Myself and my colleagues have followed the rules religiously but if you as PM say follow the rules, you have to stay whiter than white. You have to stay out of trouble. I think if Boris after Christmas had been a bit clearer on what happened, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

“Prime Minister’s make mistakes. Everyone I’ve ever known has and it just means you’re human. He won the election and has a majority. The only thing that would change that is if MPs lose confidence and the polls turn.”

Sir Robert said he would return to his Poole constituency and “listen” to what residents had to say on the matter.