The prime minister said he understood “the feelings of these victims and their families” and said he hoped the inquiry would help to protect the UK from a future health crisis.
Johnson said: “Can I just say how glad I am to be at this inquiry and how sorry I am for the pain and the loss and the suffering of the Covid victims.”
His comments were then interrupted by four protesters inside the room, who held up pictures of Covid victims and a sign saying: “The dead can’t hear your apology.”
After repeatedly telling them to sit down, inquiry chair Baroness Hallett ordered that they be removed.
Johnson then said: “I understand the feelings of these victims and their families and I am deeply sorry for the pain and the loss and the suffering of those victims and their families.
“And grateful though I am to the hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers and many other public servants - people in all walks of life - who helped to protect our country throughout the dreadful pandemic.
“I do hope that this inquiry will help to get the answers to the very difficult questions that those victims and those families are rightly asking so that we can help each other to better protect each other better in the future and prevent further suffering.”
Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “This apology will ring hollow for the thousands of families who grieved while Boris Johnson partied then lied about it.
“If he wants his apology to be taken seriously, he should at least start by paying back the thousands of pounds of taxpayer-funded legal fees he racked up during the partygate inquiry.”