Sue Gray’s report into Downing Street parties published
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Ms Gray was appointed to investigate separate days of alleged breaches of Covid rules in No10 while the country was in lockdown. The report was released to the public afternoon, with the Prime Minister set to deliver a statement to MPs.
Ms Gray wrote: “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify. At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.
“At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public.
“There were failures of leadership and judgement by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”
Ms Gray said “excessive” amounts of alcohol have been drunk by employees in the workplace at Downing Street and that steps must be taken to address this. She added that the No 10 garden was used inappropriately. Ms Gray wrote: “The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.”
According to Ms Gray’s investigation, employees at Downing Street “wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so”.
She advised: “There should be easier ways for staff to raise such concerns informally, outside of the line management chain.”
She added that at No 10 “the leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability”.
Ms Gray concluded her investigation by urging the Government to act immediately in response to the findings.
She said: “There is significant learning to be drawn from these events which must be addressed immediately across Government. This does not need to wait for the police investigations to be concluded.”
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The Met Police are also investigating potential breaches of the law at Downing Street and its report is not expected to be released for weeks or months.
Boris Johnson will now face pressure from all sides of the political spectrum to resign.
It has been reported that a raft of 70 Conservative MPs are poised to send letters of no confidence to challenge the Prime Minister’s leadership after the release of the long-awaited “partygate” report.
An MP told the Guardian: “It’s the white, middle-aged backbencher he has to watch, people who feel strongly about their morals and to whom this Prime Minister can’t offer anything personally.”
Among those who are prepared to move against Mr Johnson are more than two dozen former ministers – there are more than 70 in that category in total – according to the rebels’ latest calculations.
Do you think Mr Johnson should resign? Let us know in the comments section below.
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