Detailed summary of civil servant’s report into lockdown-breaching parties in and around Downing Street
The full report by the senior civil servant Sue Gray into lockdown-breaking parties in and around Downing Street has been published. This is what it says:
Gray looked into 15 events on 12 dates between May 2020 and April 2021, all of which involved people gathering during Covid lockdowns. Boris Johnson attended eight of these.
Several of the events appeared notably drunken and rowdy. At a leaving do on 18 June 2020 there was karaoke, “excessive alcohol consumption” in which someone was sick and “a minor altercation between two other individuals”, with staff staying beyond 3am. Two leaving events on 14 April 2021, which merged in the No 10 garden, involved drunkenness and people leaving after 4am. At a Christmas party in December 2020 red wine was spilled on a wall and on stationery supplies.
Emails and messages uncovered by Gray found regular planning of socialising, but also some officials trying to warn that the events were a bad idea.
As well as Johnson, a handful of senior officials are named, among them Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, and Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s former principal private secretary.
Reynolds appeared particularly involved in planning events. After one gathering, Reynolds sent a message saying No 10 “seem to have got away with” holding it.
The report runs to 60 pages and features eight photos from two events – Johnson’s birthday gathering in June 2020 and a leaving event in November that year.
Gray opted to not investigate claims of a party inside Johnson’s Downing Street flat on 13 November 2020. While Gray confirms this involved food and alcohol, she “concluded it was not appropriate or proportionate” to look into it – a decision likely to be controversial.
Whatever “the initial intent”, many of the gatherings breached Covid rules, and whatever the pressures of the time, this should not have happened.
There were “failures of leadership and judgment in No 10 and the Cabinet Office”. Gray wrote: “The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.”
Security and junior staff were often treated in an “unacceptable” way, Gray found: “I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff.”
Her overall conclusion: “Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of government. The public have a right to expect the very highest standards of behaviour in such places and clearly what happened fell well short of this.”
Read the original article at The Guardian