Sue Gray Report: Government Publishes Redacted Investigation Into Downing Street Parties

Hannah Smith

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Sue Gray Report: Government Publishes Redacted Investigation Into Downing Street Parties

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

A partial report into the 'partygate' scandal engulfing Boris Johnson has been published by top level civil servant Sue Gray, following a months-long investigation into allegations Downing Street broke lockdown rules by hosting a number of 'boozy' parties.

Gray handed a heavily redacted version of the report to Johnson in advance of its publication today, with the prime minister expected to make a statement to the House of Commons imminently.

In the 8 page report, Gray states that the conduct of public officials in Downing Street was 'difficult to justify,' and resulted in part from 'failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office.'

The investigation, which was opened late last year following revelations about a series of Christmas parties that took place in Downing Street while London was under Covid-19 restrictions banning social gatherings, has expanded to look into more than a dozen parties that allegedly took place during lockdown, including a May 2020 gathering attended by Johnson, a late night party the night before Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021, and a surprise birthday party thrown for the prime minister in June 2020, which one Conservative MP claimed saw him 'ambushed by a cake.'

Boris Johnson (Alamy)
Boris Johnson (Alamy)

Gray and a team of investigators spoke to a number of officials to gather testimony and evidence about the events, including Dominic Cummings, a number of Metropolitan Police officers and Johnson himself.

The investigation also obtained email chains, a copy of Johnson's e-calendar, and security pass logs showing who was in Downing Street at the time that parties were alleged to have taken place, with The Mirror reporting Gray was also handed photographs showing Johnson 'with wine bottles' at some of the gatherings.

The report's publication was delayed last week after it was confirmed on Tuesday, January 25, that the Metropolitan Police had launched its own criminal investigation into allegations of lockdown breaches after Gray referred some of her findings to the police.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that Johnson had today been provided with an 'update' on Gray's investigation rather than a full report, with many of the findings removed following a request from the Met for there to be only 'minimal reference' to events currently subject to police investigation.

Gray confirmed that she was 'extremely limited' in what she could say about the four events under police investigation and that it was 'not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analysing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather.' It's expected a full version of the report will be issued once the police have concluded their investigation.

Amid growing calls to resign from all sides, including within his own party, Johnson's political future has been riding on the report's publication, with a number of Conservative MPs publicly saying they planned to put in letters of no confidence in the prime minister upon its release.

Boris Johnson and cabinet ministers (Alamy)
Boris Johnson and cabinet ministers (Alamy)

Though Gray had not been expected to officially accuse Johnson of wrongdoing in the report, or judge whether he had committed a resigning offence, the facts laid out by the investigation were anticipated to demonstrate whether or not he had knowledge of, or presided over, a culture of drinking and partying among Downing Street staff at a time when the rest of the UK was unable to see friends and family.

Ahead of the report's publication, various MPs were said to have already made up their minds about whether Johnson should stay or go, regardless of the investigation's conclusions.

Featured image credit: Alamy

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Topics: News, Boris Johnson, UK News

Hannah Smith
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