Sue Gray's Downing Street Report Published; Government Accused Of 'Failure Of Leadership'
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Sue Gray’s Downing Street report has finally been published - and it doesn't look good for the government.
The report, which looked into a series of secret gatherings while the country was in lockdown, concludes that "some of the behaviour surrounding [the Downing Street] gatherings is difficult to justify".
It is also notes that "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."
Staff at Downing Street are accused of giving 'too little thought given to what was happening across the country', amounting to a 'failure of leadership'.
Summing up the evidence, Gray concludes: "a number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did."
The report contained limited detail about certain gatherings due to an ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation into the 'parties'.
Boris Johnson is set to address the nation at 3.30pm, just an hour after the report was published.
The cabinet office investigation was commissioned to look into the the alleged gatherings and ‘parties’ at Downing Street which took place when the county was under strict coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021.
Gray, a senior civil servant, examined evidence surrounding gatherings at Number 10 on 27th November and 18th December 2020, and one at the Department for Education on 10th December 2020.
They also investigated two 'leaving parties' held at Number 10 on 16th April 2021, the day before Prince Philip’s funeral.
The government has come under fire in recent months after the reports of numerous gatherings during lockdown one and two.
This includes the ‘cheese and wine’ gather at the No 10 garden on 15th May 2020, in which Johnson and his wife Carrie were pictured surrounded by beverages and snacks.
A spokesperson for the prime minister denied there was a social event on the 15th May 2020.
The ‘bring your own booze’ party in the No 10 garden on the 20th May 2020, which was revealed via a leaked email to ITV News, and the Downing Street Christmas party on 18th December 2020, which ultimately led to the prime minister’s then press secretary Allegra Stratton resigning.
Johnson said he was “furious” when he saw the clip and apologised to the public “unreservedly”.
Johnson denied that he knew the event on 20th May 2020 was a party during PMQs and said he thought it was a “work event”.
The report comes after the Metropolitan Police announced on 25th January they had launched their own investigation after ITV News reported that Boris Johnson celebrated his birthday with a party of up to 30 people in June 2020.
It is alleged that Johnson and his wife were in attendance for the get-together held on the afternoon of 19th June, when the rest of the country followed rules set by the government forbidding social gatherings indoors.
Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Met Police, confirmed the investigation the morning after the prime minister’s 2020 birthday celebrations were leaked to the press.
She said: “As a result of info provided by cabinet office and my officers own assessment I can confirm Met is investigating.”
Dick also said the Met will look into a “number of events” in Downing Street over the past two years, during which families across the country were unable to see each other during lockdown.
There have been growing calls from Labour politicians for Johnson to resign after reports of parties happening during lockdown.