In the UK the prime minister Boris Johnson has dismissed renewed calls for his resignation after an internal report into lockdown parties at downing street criticized the culture and leadership inside ten downing street the report found that many of the gatherings should not have been allowed to happen here’s more when asked about the lockdown parties in downing street.
Boris Johnson has often said this the thing needs to conclude we need to hear what uh sue grey has to say sugree is the civil servant who investigated the gatherings and now her full report is out it details multiple events and she tells us what took place at many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with covert guidance at the time.
We know some of those gatherings led to police fines and once the report was public the prime minister addressed parliament I Mr. Speaker i I’m humbled and I have learned a lesson sugree looked at 16 events one of them was a bring your own booze gathering in the downing street garden in June 2020. The prime minister’s then principal private secretary martin Reynolds sent the invite a number 10 special adviser messaged him on the day saying the press conference will probably be finishing around that time
So helpful if people can be mindful of that as speakers and cameras are leaving not walking around waving bottles of wine etc. Martin reynolds replied we’ll do my best others raised concerns too lee kane then director of communications in number 10 emailed martin reynolds saying a 200 odd person invitation for drinks in the garden of number 10 is somewhat of a comms risk in the current environment in the end.
Around 30 to 40 people attended including Boris Johnson then there was this event on the prime minister’s birthday for which he’s now been fined and there are also details of parties the prime minister didn’t attend at one in June 2020 the then head of ethics in the cabinet office Helen McNamara brought a karaoke machine she’s since been fined on this sue grey tells us the event lasted for a number of hours there was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals one individual was sick there was a minor altercation between two other individuals and responding to the report
Boris Johnson says he didn’t know the extent of what was happening i have been as surprised and disappointed as anyone else in this house as the revelations have unfolded number 10 staffers have questioned this though before the report one told the BBC’s Laura Kongsberg, he must have known the rules were being broken why is he denying this when we’ve been with him this entire time, we knew that the rules had been broken
We knew these parties happened but if the prime minister didn’t realize rules were being broken some security staff did i remember when a custodian tried to stop it all and he was just shaking his head in this party being like this shouldn’t be happening people laughed at him sue gray’s report addresses this too she writes of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff Boris Johnson has condemned that this happened
and some of those cleaning staff were working after a Christmas party in 2020 a party about which the prime minister said this i have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party but there was a party sue grey notes the event was crowded and noisy such that some people working elsewhere in the number 10 building that evening heard significant levels of noise something they characterized as a party.
She goes on a cleaner who attended the room the next morning noted that there had been red wine spilled on one wall Mr. Johnson has repeatedly said he didn’t know the extent of what happened and listening to him was the leader of the opposition that report lays bare the rot that under this prime minister has spread in number 10 and it provides definitive proof of how those within the building treated the sacrifices of the British people with utter contempt if that was the opposition his conservative Tobias Elwood addressing his fellow tory mps are you willing day in and day out to defend this behavior publicly yes one of them could be heard replying and most tory mps
Do still support the prime minister is it not really true that it is now time to turn a page and for this country our politics and this house to move forward the moment between waiting for sue grey’s report and moving on from sugree’s report has been fleeting for some but an inquiry into whether mr johnson misled parliament continues with a focus on statements like this all guidance was followed completely during number 10. there’s a focus because the ministerial code says ministers who knowingly mislead parliament will be expected to offer their resignation but boris johnson denies doing this
When i said i came to this house and said in all sincerity that the rules and guidance have been followed at all times it was what i believed to be true that will be for the inquiry to decide and this from December will also be scrutinized will the prime minister tell the house whether there was a party in downing street on the 13th of November Mr. speaker no but I’m sure that and whatever happened the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times there was a leaving do on that date this staffer was there was about 30 people
If not more in a room everyone was stood shoulder to shoulder some people on each other’s laps at this time england was in lockdown indoor gatherings with other households were banned and less for work purposes Boris Johnson was at this leaving do at least one other person there was fine but Mr. Johnson wasn’t because he says he was doing his job i briefly attended such gatherings to thank them for their service which i believe is one of the essential duties of leadership one other gathering is worthy of no it was on the same day in November 2020. this is the gathering the telegraph reported was allegedly held to celebrate the departure of Dominic cummings the prime minister’s then advisor and where the mirror reported the Abba track winner takes it all was blasted loudly sugray concluded’.
This was a meeting and says it would not be necessary appropriate or proportionate to investigate further because the police had already decided not to her conclusion more broadly though is quite different she writes in her report the events that i investigated were attended by leaders in government many of these events should not have been allowed to happen the senior leadership at the center both political and official must bear responsibility for this culture and Boris Johnson hasn’t quibbled with that i take full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch. watch here
He also noted that since the parties the entire senior management has changed but not everyone at the top has changed and taking full responsibility can mean quite different things to labor it means resigning to Boris Johnson it means learning lessons she writes and i quote i am pleased that progress is being made in addressing the issues i raised and as the prime minister looked ahead to this report he outlined the stakes we will get sue gray’s uh final words on this matter and I think people will be able to make a judgment some may have already made their minds up but this report and the police finds before them offer another moment to make a judgment about what is and isn’t acceptable from the politicians and civil servants who run the country and who set the rules that millions of people follow. read more