LONDON (Fwrd Axis) — The UK’s Conservative party has been at the centre of a ‘Partygate’ scandal which saw many members of the Government break Covid rules in the heat of lockdown by hosting and attending parties. As we know, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has time and time again refuted rule break and defended the events as “work meetings” with cheese and wine for refreshments.
Since the controversy gathered pace, Sue Gray was drafted in to investigate the shenanigans at Downing Street and Whitehall and this article aims to lay out its findings.
Her team interviewed 70 individuals, on more than one occasion – although none of them were named. They also examined emails, Whatsapp messages, and text messages. Photographs and building entry and exit logs were also looked at.
She did not comment on whether individual events were in line with Covid rules, adding it was “inappropriate” while the police investigate. What she can say about the events under police investigation is “extremely limited”.
The crux of the report states that there were “failures of leadership and judgment” by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at various periods of lockdown. A couple of examples include Matt Hancock and Dominic Cummings’ separate lockdown rule breaks, which subsequently lead to both resigning.
It also adds that “excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time”; and that every government department should have a “clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol”.
Also, Gray’s report highlights that some behaviour at the gatherings is “difficult to justify” given the public was being asked to “accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives”.
It’s since been revealed that Boris even reached out to the Queen after she lost her dear husband, Prince Phillip. He enquired whether she wanted to ease lockdown for the funeral so the public can pay their respects, something which the Queen declined. She chose to grieve in the same way as the British public who lost their loved ones in the pandemic and stuck by the rules.
Gray states that some of the events represent a “serious failure to observe” standards for government and those expected of the public at the time. And that at times it seems there was “too little thought” given to what was going on in the country, the risk to public health, and how the events might appear to the public.
Sue Gray highlighted 16 events that took place, 12 of which are now being investigated by the Met police. This means that there have been an extra three events that have not previously been reported.
Dame Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police’s Chief Commissioner, faced backlash after asking Sue Gray to water down her report and censor it while her investigations continue. This gave Boris Johnson and his close aides some relief and reassurance, allowing him to bide his time. But, it’s now been revealed that Dame Cressida’s team wants to interview Boris and his wife, Carrie Johnson, regarding events that took place in No 10 and 11 Downing Street during the lockdown. This will have to wait until Boris returns from Ukraine, though.
It’s no secret that Boris is having a rough time… While we don’t know what the Met Police’s investigation will conclude, reports suggest that the full Sue Gray report will be released after the Met Police wrap up its investigation.
In Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday, Boris apologised briefly about the report findings and then returned to repeatedly mention that he’s the only Prime Minister to “get Brexit done”, which bears no relevance to the report or its findings.