British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his staff hosted and attended several parties prohibited by pandemic restrictions at the time, according to a report by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
“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,” Gray wrote in the report.
The report looked into 16 parties that took place in violation of pandemic restrictions at the time. Two pictures included in the report apparently show the prime minister himself at illegal gatherings in June and November of 2020. At the time of the June gathering, British government restrictions prohibited gatherings of two or more people. At the time of the November gathering, a second national lockdown had been recently introduce, and indoor gatherings of two or more people were prohibited unless, “reasonably necessary … for work purposes.”
ITV says this image is from 13th November 2020.
On 8th December 2021 Catherine West asked Boris Johnson in the Commons “whether there was a party in Downing St on 13th Nov?”
PM: “No. But but I’m sure whatever happened the guidance… and the rules were followed at all times.” pic.twitter.com/hhnyqKdiZc
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 23, 2022
“The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture,” Gray wrote in the report. (RELATED: Boris Johnson Says Biological Men Shouldn’t Compete In Women’s Sports)
The probe also revealed that in several instances security and cleaning staff had allegedly been treated poorly by the partiers.
“This was unacceptable,” Gray wrote in the report. “I am reassured to see that steps have since been taken to introduce more easily accessible means by which to raise concerns electronically, in person or online, including directly with the Permanent Secretary in No 10.”
In a speech to members of parliament, Johnson said he took “full responsibility” for the illegal gatherings and apologized to the security and cleaning staff for the treatment they had received.
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer called for Johnson’s resignation in the wake of the report, saying, “You cannot be a lawmaker and a law-breaker. It’s time to pack his bags.”
Some changes in leadership and management at 10 Downing Street have taken place since the outset of the probe, Gray wrote.
“I am pleased progress is being made in addressing the issues I raised.”