boris johnson

Covid Bereaved Families Hit Out At Findings In Sue Gray Report

today25 May 2022

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The 37-page report into the16 gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall was finally handed to the prime minister at around 10am this morning.

It followed the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police’s own investigation into partygate, which resulted in 126 fixed fixed penalty notices being issued to 83 people, including the prime minister, his wife Carrie and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

However, despite attending several other gatherings investigated as part of the probe — including a now infamous leaving do for his departing director of communications Lee Cain — Johnson received no more fines.

In her report, Gray said: “The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.

“It is also the case that some of the more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders.

“The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”

The report contains specific details about what happened at various gatherings, including one on June 18, 2020 when one staff member was sick and there was “a minor altercation” between two people.

At another there was “red wine spilled on one wall and on a number of boxes of photocopier paper”.

In one damning line, Gray wrote: “I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable.”

The report goes on: “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.”

In response, Johnson issued a an apology to MPs in the Commons.

“I have been as surprised and disappointed as anyone else in this House as the revelations have unfolded and, frankly, I have been appalled by some of the behaviour, particularly in the treatment of the security and the cleaning staff,” he said.

“And I’d like to apologise to those members of staff and I expect anyone who behaved in that way to apologise to them as well.”

But he appeared to reject suggestions he had given previous misleading statements to the House about whether such gatherings took place.

“I’m happy to set on the record now that when I came to this House and said, in all sincerity, that the rules and guidance had been followed at all times, it was what I believed to be true,” he said.

“It was certainly the case that when I was present at gatherings to wish staff a farewell, and the House will note that my attendance at these moments – brief as it was – has not been found to be outside the rules.

“But clearly this was not the case for some of those gatherings after I had left and at other gatherings when I was not even in the building.

“So I would like to correct the record, to take this opportunity, not in any sense to absolve myself of responsibility – which I take and have always taken – but simply to explain why I spoke as I did in this House.”

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today25 May 2022

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