Politics LIVE: Sue Gray report: Boris Johnson holding press conference

An official inquiry into the partygate scandal has said the “senior leadership” in Boris Johnson’s Government must “bear responsibility” for the culture which led to coronavirus lockdown rules being broken.

The Prime Minister faced fresh demands to resign after Sue Gray’s report said the public would be “dismayed” by a series of breaches of coronavirus rules in No 10 and Westminster.

“The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen,” she said.

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The Metropolitan Police has issued 126 fines for rule breaches in No 10 and Whitehall, with the Prime Minister receiving a single fixed-penalty notice for his birthday party.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads to a press conference in Downing Street, London, following the publication of Sue Gray's report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture date: Wednesday May 25, 2022.
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Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner described the contents of the report as “indefensible”, calling Mr Johnson’s Downing Street “rotten from the very top”.

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“He set the culture. It happened on his watch. It’s on him,” she added.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford branded the report “damning” and called the Prime Minister to resign for “orchestrating” the scenes in Downing Street.

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Sue Gray report condemns party failing at heart of UK Government and says 'senio...

Labour said there was now “no doubt” that Mr Johnson had “lied” to MPs.

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Politics: Partygate row as it happened: Pressure mounts on Boris Johnson as he faces questions after new photos emerge

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Now Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has come under fire again - with calls for him to re-submit his letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson.

Mr Ross made his views public earlier this year saying that the Prime Minister should resign, before famously retracting the letter and saying he should continue in the role.

Good morning and welcome to our live blog as pressure once again mounts on Boris Johson.

Anyone getting a sense of deja vu?

Boris Johnson does not think he was attending a party in the image showing him raising a glass and surrounded by wine bottles at a leaving do, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

The Cabinet minister told Sky News: “I don’t think the fact of the pictures, us seeing them for the first time, changes what the police and Sue Gray already know.”

“I see his red box is there, which is his work box, it looks to me like he goes down on his way out of the office and thanks the staff and raises a glass, and doesn’t in his mind recognise it as a party. And indeed the police have looked into this and spent a lot of time and resources.”

Asked if he is comfortable with the photographs, he said: “I’m not, I couldn’t see my own dad for a long period of time because we were obeying the rules but I also accept the Prime Minister has long since apologised, has made fundamental reforms in No 10 and have no doubt if he had his time again he wouldn’t have dropped by to say thank you to a member of staff leaving.”

The pictures showed the Prime Minister with a glass in his hand behind a table filled with alcohol and food

The Mayor of London said the Metropolitan Police should explain why Boris Johnson is not getting a fine for a party he was at where at least one other person is being fined.

Sadiq Khan said he has “assiduously stayed well away” from the investigation.

“But I think it’s important, when it comes to trust and confidence, when it comes to policing by consent, when it comes to questions being asked about the integrity of an investigation that the police explain why they’ve reached the conclusions they have.

Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan. Photo: Getty

The Times is this morning reporting that Boris Johnson tried to pressure Sue Gray into not publishing her report when they met.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did not deny reports that Boris Johnson suggested to Sue Gray she did not need to publish her partygate investigation.

He told Sky News: “I wasn’t in the room so I don’t know that’s the case.

“Exactly what was discussed, I don’t know.

“Occasionally things get reported that are not entirely accurate, the civil service were there to make sure that all the correct processes were followed so I have no particular reason for concern about the two of them meeting.”

Conservative MP David Simmonds demanded Boris Johnson explains the difficult explanation of how the pictures do not portray him drinking at a rule-breaking party.

The representative for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think most colleagues committed to their constituents that they would wait until they had sight of the full report from Sue Gray, I think that is still the case.”

He said it would be “very difficult” for Mr Johnson to provide a satisfactory answer, but added: “It seems to me he could construct some defence about how people were at work, but we need to see this in context. Many of my constituents lost relatives, they lost friends and family members, my father-in-law died of Covid.”

Ruth Davidson said the latest Downing Street pictures show it is clear Boris Johnson lied to Parliament and that his position is “untenable”.

“There is now photographic evidence that when the Prime Minister stood up in Parliament and was asked directly was there a party in No 10 on this date and he replied ‘no’, he lied to Parliament,” Baroness Davidson said.

“I don’t think his job is tenable and his position is tenable. The office of Prime Minister should be above being traduced by the person who holds it.”

Cabinet minister has Grant Shapps suggested the Metropolitan Police do not need to explain why the Prime Minister was not fined over the leaving party.

He said he was “angry” to see the images of Boris Johnson with a drink at a leaving party in lockdown but suggested he was not fined because he left “pretty quick”.

Downing Street is understood to believe it is probable it will receive the Sue Gray report into partygate on Wednesday.

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