COVID lockdown parties at British leader Boris Johnson’s office were a “gross failure,” according to Sue Gray’s report
London – A long-awaited report on parties at Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s residence and workplace during the height of the country’s coronavirus lockdown in 2020 has revealed that “at least some of the gatherings in question represented a serious failure not only to uphold the high standards expected of those who work at the heart of government, but also by the standards expected of the British public at large at the time.
The report released on Monday was prepared by officer Sue Gray but she has had to restrict her publication as 12 of the gatherings in question are currently under investigation by London’s Metropolitan Police.
Gray’s report lists a total of 16 gatherings, all held at Johnson’s official residence, 10 Downing Street, when people were forbidden from meeting indoors with anyone outside of their household.
Gray acknowledged in her report that she was limited in what she could say due to the ongoing police investigation.
“It is not currently possible to produce a meaningful report that presents and analyzes the extensive factual information that I have been able to gather,” she said.
Despite the restrictions, she condemned the behavior of some Number 10 employees and criticized “excessive drinking” in the workplace.
“There have been failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No. 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have happened. Other events shouldn’t have unfolded the way they did.” She said.
Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a pro-party apology before the British Parliament, but gave no indication that he would heed the many calls for his resignation that came from both opposition MPs and some members of his own Conservative party.
“I’m sorry for the things we just didn’t do right and also for the way this matter was handled,” he said, outlining ways he would try to improve the work culture at 10 Downing Street improve. “I get it, and I’m going to fix it, and I want to say to the people of this country: I know what this is about. It’s a question of whether this government can be trusted to deliver, and I say yes, we can be trusted. “
Opposition Labor Party leader Kier Starmer reiterated his call for members of Johnson’s party to remove him from his post.
Under UK law, an incumbent prime minister can be removed either by a vote of no confidence within his own party or by a national election. If Johnson were voted out of office by his own party, the Conservatives would stay in power and elect a new leader from among their ranks to be prime minister. In this case, the party would be pressured to hold national elections.
“Whatever your politics, whatever party you vote for, honesty and decency are important,” Starmer said. “Our great democracy depends on it and cherishing and cherishing British democracy is what it means to be patriotic. There are members of the opposite side who know that. The eyes of the country are on them. They will be judged by the choices they make now. “