Staff partied in Downing Street while the rest of the country was in lockdown with the approval of their bosses, according to Sue Gray’s report.
The Senior Civil Servant said many events “should not have been allowed”, and the Prime Minister and his officials “must bear responsibility for this culture”. The report highlighted excessive drinking, staff being sick, and abuse of cleaning and security staff. Additionally, the report also said warnings about parties breaking Covid rules were ignored.
Excerpts of the Sue Gray Report
In the 37-page report, Mrs. Gray found that political and official leadership must bear responsibility for the culture at No.10, on the basis that staff partied, with some late until after 4am, on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, while at another party, in June 2020, there was “excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals. One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals”.
In addition, the report said a No.10 Official sent a message referring to “drunkenness” and advised staff to leave No.10 via the back exit after a December 2020 Christmas quiz to avoid press photographers. The report also noted that there were “Multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff”
The Prime Minister’s key aide, Martin Reynolds, was urged to cancel a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street Garden in May 2020, as it posed “somewhat of a comms risk”.
An unnamed special adviser also told Mr. Reynolds via WhatsApp that it would be “helpful” if people avoided “walking around waving bottles of wine etc” ahead of the May 2020 event, as it took place immediately after a televised Covid press conference. Mr. Reynolds later told an unnamed adviser that “we seem to have got away with” the party.
Party at Johnson’s Flat
Sue Gray’s report also found that Mr. Johnson joined five special advisers in a meeting with “food and alcohol” in his Downing Street flat on the evening of the announcement of Dominic Cummings’ departure in November 2020.
However, the Senior Civil Servant conceded that she collected “limited” information because she began gathering details before the Metropolitan Police launched an inquiry, and did not return to it. In the conclusion to her report, Mrs. Gray disclosed that “Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen”.
“It is also the case that some of the more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”Senior Civil Servant, Sue Gray
A Call to Resign
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, told MPs he took “full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch”. He said he was “humbled by the whole experience” and learned lessons. But Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, who is being investigated by police over his own lockdown event, called on Tory MPs to tell Mr. Johnson that “the game is up” and that it is “time to pack his bags”.
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