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Boris Johnson has publicly apologised following the release of the long-awaited Sue Gray report, which investigates the numerous parties held in 10 Downing Street while strict lockdown measures were in place to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, the PM said he would "sort out" the "fragmented" leadership structure at Downing Street by appointing a new 'office of the Prime Minister' at Number 10.
"I get it and I will fix it," he said in response to the report.
"This pandemic was hard for everyone. We asked people across this country to make the most extraordinary sacrifices, not to meet loved ones, not to visit relatives before they died, and I understand the anger that people feel," he said.
"But, Mr Speaker, it is not enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn. And while the Metropolitan Police must yet complete their investigation - and that means there are no details of specific events in Sue Gray’s report - I, of course, accept Sue Gray’s general findings in full, and above all her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now."
Senior civil servant Sue Gray was tasked by the Cabinet Office to establish “a general understanding of the nature of the gatherings, including attendance, the setting and the purpose, with reference to adherence to the guidance in place at the time.”
The Gray report specifically investigates gatherings that were held inside Downing Street on 27 November and 18 December 2020, as well as one at the Department for Education on 10 December.
But the Cabinet Office later confirmed reports of two leaving parties at Number 10 on 16 April 2021 - the day before Prince Philip's funeral, are also being included.
The report has since been published in a heavily redacted form after the Metropolitan Police's request.
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'.
Last week, the Metropolitan Police announced it had launched its own inquiry on 25 January 2022 after being given evidence by the Cabinet Office team.
The force's recommendation that the report makes only "minimal reference" to the parties in question has been derided by critics, who have argued this may be where some of the most damaging allegations may lie.
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."
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