Full Sue Gray Report is now released to PM

After hearing Sue Gray’s report about lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, Boris Johnson is bracing himself for a tough day. The report into the No. 10 party gatherings, to which 126 penalty notice fines have been issued to those who attended  has yet to be released, but it’s  expected to be harsh in its criticism of No 10’s culture, which led to frequent violations of Covid limitations in 2020 and 2021.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case is expected to be criticised in the report, but he has stated that he would not resign and that the Prime Minister will not fire him. “We can confirm that Sue Gray has given her final report to the Prime Minister,” a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said.

The papers presented to No 10 comprise nine photos relating to the Partygate incidents, including pictures of the Prime Minister, Mr Case, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in addition to the 37-page report. Later on Wednesday, Mr Johnson will give a statement to MPs in the Commons.

He will also attend a press conference in Downing Street and address the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, who will have to decide whether the findings are serious enough to merit an attempt to remove him from office. Ms Gray’s report will provide the most detailed account yet of the events that sparked considerable public outrage, including the names of some of individuals who attended events.

Officials affected by the report investigation, including those who’s names may be released to the public, were written to before it was released in order to give them the opportunity to reply before it was finalised. On Wednesday morning, Mr Case had a brief chat with Mr Johnson in No 10 during which he stated that he would not be resigning – and the Prime Minister made it clear that he would not be fired.

A Cabinet supporter of the Prime Minister stated ahead of the report’s release that Mr Johnson acknowledged “failures” in government and apologised for what went wrong. The Environment Secretary,  George Eustice commenting on the culture of No.10 party gatherings on Times Radio: “Clearly what happened in No 10 is a culture developed where they were working there, it was their place of work, and there were times when they would have a drink at the end of the day.”

He added “That boundary between what was acceptable and what wasn’t got blurred and that was a mistake. Sue Gray highlighted that in her first interim report and I think she is almost certainly going to say more about that when her final report comes out. The Prime Minister himself has accepted that and recognises there were of course failings and therefore there’s got to be some changes to the way the place is run.”

Although a previous 12 page update report was previously published earlier this year in January by the Sue Gray’s department in the Cabinet Office, the full report has been long-awaited, and almost overlooked whilst the police conducted “Operation Hillman” investigating breaches of the law which have now concluded. 

Today at Prime Ministers Questions, Boris Johnson tried to distance his complicity in the gatherings by stating several times that he was only “briefly at these gatherings” and stated his dismay over the late finishing of the parties, some of which went on into the early mornings. Although he said he only attended to make speeches for leaving colleagues, Boris Johnson did not apologise and explain why the unlawful gatherings should have taken place in the first instance.

Below Boris Johnson tries to minimise and explain his involvement within the gatherings, clearly in an attempt to shift the blame on the duration of the party gatherings on lower and younger members of the No. 10 governmental staff.

(c) BBC PARLIAMENT “Prime Ministers Questions” 25th May 2022,
Boris Johnson’s reacts in Parliament on the publication today of the Sue Gray Cabinet Office Report

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