Sue Gray Report Spares BoJo, Blames ‘Partygate’ On “Inappropriate” Drinking Culture
Update (0930ET): Details from the unredacted portion of the report have finally been released as BoJo prepares to brief the House of Commons. Notably, the details largely spare the PM, simply stating that Downing Street suffers from an “inappropriate” and “excessive” drinking culture, which led to the gatherings during the lockdown.
According to the 12-page report, “some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.”
In its introduction, the report states that “when the government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behavior surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify.” It goes on to pin the egregious violations of lockdown restrictions on a permissive culture promoted by the leadership from BoJo on down.
Here’s Sue Gray’s conclusion in full, which states that “there is significant learning” to be gleaned from these events:
The gatherings within the scope of this investigation are spread over a 20-month period – a period that has been unique in recent times in terms of the complexity and breadth of the demands on public servants and indeed the general public.
“The whole of the country rose to the challenge. Ministers, special advisers and the Civil Service, of which I am proud to be a part, were a key and dedicated part of that national effort.
“However, as I have noted, a number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did.
“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.”
In addition to addressing the House of Commons, BoJo will also address the entire conservative parliamentary party after his appearance before Parliament.
Readers can read the full 12-page report below:
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British PM Boris Johnson has finally received the “Partygate” report compiled by Sue Gray, a longtime British civil servant, who has been tasked with leading the investigation into the reports about illicit parties at No. 10 during the early days of the pandemic when the British public was still facing a crippling lockdown.
Initially, No. 10 denied reports of illegal parties, but as more reported parties were exposed in the press, BoJo and his team pivoted to acknowledging the parties, but insisting they weren’t illegal or improper.
The British public has been waiting with baited breath for Gray’s report, but it’s still unclear when and how details from the report will be made public. Even BoJo won’t receive details about the most serious allegations, which are now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
Prior to handing over the report, Gray reportedly spoke with No. 10 Sunday night about the “logistics” of handing over her complete findings. The Cabinet Office characterized Gray’s report as an “update” since it didn’t include the most serious allegations: Gray “has provided an update on her investigations to the Prime Minister,” the Cabinet Office said.
Johnson’s office says the report will be published and the prime minister will address Parliament about its findings later Monday.
Unfortunately, since much of the report will be redacted due to the police inquiry, the report has been characterized as an “update” and is unlikely to tell the full story. BoJo is set to offer an “update” on the report’s findings Monday morning when he addresses the House of Commons.
Readers can watch BoJo’s appearance live below. It’s set to begin at 1030ET (1530 London Time):
BoJo has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and insisted that he has “absolutely no intention” of resigning. However, Labour and even some Tory MPs say they have lost their trust in the PM, and insist that his office has been caught repeatedly lying to the press and the public about the parties. BoJo and his team did initially insist that no rules were broken until footage of a “mock press conference” surfaced showing senior advisers clearly mixing without masks and in violation of other rules like the “rule of six”. BoJo then had to admit that he had attended some of the “gatherings”, but he continued to insist that they hadn’t broken the rules.
An effort is underway among the Tory backbenchers to try and oust BoJo from the premiership and his position as Party leader, but not enough letters expressing their lack of confidence in the PM have yet been received.
The PM is said to be “studying” the report, which is expected to be released to the public (albeit in its limited form) “soon”.
As of Monday afternoon in the UK, BoJo is focusing on foreign affairs like the situation in Russia which observers have speculated might be an attempt to distract from the news of the report’s delivery.
Mon, 01/31/2022 – 09:46