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PARTY-GATE: Downing St Publishes Sue Grey Report into Lockdown Parties

A REPORT on the Downing Street lockdown parties has been published on the Government website.

The report criticised “failures of leadership and judgment” by parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office.

Sue Gray handed Boris Johnson a version of her inquiry into allegations of lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street on Monday morning.

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The report found that “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify.”

“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 at the time.”

“At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public.”

“There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place.”

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“Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”

“The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.”

“Steps must be taken to ensure that every Government Department has a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace.”

“The use of the garden at No 10 Downing Street should be primarily for the Prime Minister and the private residents of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.”

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“During the pandemic it was often used as an extension of the workplace as a more covid secure means of holding group meetings in a ventilated space.”

“This was a sensible measure that staff appreciated, but the garden was also used for gatherings without clear authorisation or oversight.”

“This was not appropriate. Any official access to the space, including for meetings, should be by invitation only and in a controlled environment.”

“Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so. “

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“No member of staff should feel unable to report or challenge poor conduct where they witness it. There should be easier ways .”

Mr Johnson said: “I stick absolutely to what I’ve said in the past” when questioned about his reported denials of any wrongdoing to Tory MPs.”

You can read a copy of the report here.

The House of Commons confirmed that the Prime Minister will make a statement to MPs on the inquiry at 3.30pm.

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A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “We can confirm that Sue Gray has provided an update on her investigations to the Prime Minister.”

The wording suggested that the official may wish to publish a fuller-version of the results of her inquiry after the Met completes its investigation.

Downing Street has committed to publishing the report before Mr Johnson addresses MPs.

Its publication was thrown into disarray last week when Scotland Yard requested that Ms Gray makes only “minimal reference” to events that officers are investigating.

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Asked about warnings that the inquiry will be a “whitewash” because of the changes, Mr Johnson said: “You are going to have to wait and see both what Sue says and, of course, what the Met says.”

The Prime Minister has publicly said he is “deeply sorry for misjudgments” surrounding events in No 10, but insisted no-one warned him a garden party in the first lockdown would be against the rules.

In private, however, he is said to have told Conservative MPs who may oust him as Prime Minister over the saga that he has done nothing wrong.

“You’re going to have to wait and see the outcome of the investigations but, of course, I stick absolutely to what I’ve said in the past,” he said, when asked about those remarks during a visit to a freeport in Tilbury, Essex.

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Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced last week that officers have begun an investigation into alleged Covid breaches in Downing Street and wider Government, after being handed information from the Gray inquiry.

But it threw the publication of the Whitehall report into disarray when the force controversially asked Ms Gray to limit what she writes about events under investigation by officers.

Concerned over the prospect of jeopardising a police inquiry, Ms Gray was understood to have complied with the Met’s request.

Additional Reporting by PA Media

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