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 report by Sue Gray, published in full on the UK government website, said the public would be “dismayed” by a series of breaches of coronavirus rules in No 10 and Westminster. Here’s what you need to know about what the report stated.
What is in the Sue Gray report?
In her report on partygate Sue Gray said “many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of Government” and “what happened fell well short” of the standards expected. In her conclusion, Ms Gray writes that the general findings set out in the abbreviated report published on January 31st, 2022 still stand.
"Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time,” she writes. “Even allowing for the extraordinary pressures officials and advisers were under, the factual findings of this report illustrate some attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with that guidance.”
Ms Gray goes on to call what went on at the events to be “failures of leadership and judgement in No 10 and the Cabinet Office” and that senior leadership “must bear responsibility for this culture”.
The report also outlines that “some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly”, continuing that there were “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff”.
Ms Gray also suggests that the bulk of the responsibility lies with senior officials, writing that “those in the most junior positions attended gatherings at which their seniors were present, or indeed organised” and that she has “no doubt” they have learned from these experiences.
She closes the report by stating: “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. It is my firm belief, however, that these events did not reflect the prevailing culture in Government and the Civil Service at the time. Many thousands of people up and down the country worked tirelessly to deliver in unprecedented times. I remain immensely proud to be a civil servant and of the work of the service and the wider public sector during the pandemic.”
She also notes that disciplinary action is not within the remit of her report. The report summarises details of the events, including transcripts of emails and WhatsApp messages given in evidence, and photos of the events taking place. These photos blur faces of those not named in the report.
Additional reporting by PA.