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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Boris Johnson should ‘bear responsibility’ for partygate, report says

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Boris Johnson should “bear responsibility” for the tradition in Downing Street in the course of the pandemic that allowed repeated breaking of Covid guidelines, senior civil servant Sue Gray concluded in her long-awaited verdict on the partygate scandal.

Gray’s 37-page report — plus images — is an indictment of lawbreaking and consuming in 10 Downing Street in the course of a nationwide disaster, when the remainder of the nation was observing Covid lockdowns.

Johnson, who was fined by the police for his participation at one celebration, has come beneath renewed criticism from Conservative MPs for permitting ill-discipline and illicit behaviour to happen beneath his personal roof.

The management of the civil service can be strongly criticised by Gray, however Simon Case, the top of the civil service, is predicted to remain in his place, in line with senior authorities figures.

Johnson shall be relieved that the report isn’t as personally important of him as some had anticipated, though Gray mentioned the issues uncovered in Downing Street got here from the highest.

Gray’s report, which incorporates 9 images of Johnson at varied occasions, concluded that “many of these events should not have been allowed to happen”.

She added: “It is also the case that some of the more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders.”

Pointing the finger at each Johnson and Case, she concluded: “The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”

Boris Johnson at a gathering within the Cabinet Room in Downing Street on June 19 2020 © UK Government

Gray concluded in her report: “Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of government. The public have a right to expect the very highest standards of behaviour in such places and clearly what happened fell well short of this.”

However, she mentioned: “It is my firm belief . . . that these events did not reflect the prevailing culture in government and the civil service at the time.

“Many thousands of people up and down the country worked tirelessly to deliver in unprecedented times. I remain immensely proud to be a civil servant and of the work of the service and the wider public sector during the pandemic.”

Johnson will give an announcement on the teachings discovered from Gray inquiry at 12.30pm and is braced for renewed criticism of his management from Tory MPs. At 5pm he’ll handle his celebration behind closed doorways.

He is predicted to inform MPs: “I commissioned this report to set the record straight and allow us all to move on. I accept full responsibility for my failings. I am humbled by the whole experience. We have learned our lesson.”

Before Gray’s report was revealed, most Conservative MPs had concluded that Johnson would survive the partygate affair, albeit along with his fame badly tarnished within the eyes of many citizens.

However, the small print contained within the report on the tradition of events and consuming on the coronary heart of presidency has disturbed many Tory MPs; earlier this month the celebration misplaced nearly 500 seats in native council elections.

Johnson’s allies are assured the prime minister is not going to face a no-confidence movement — 54 Tory MPs are required to set off such a contest — regardless of the newest revelations.

The prime minister hopes to maneuver shortly on from the partygate scandal; chancellor Rishi Sunak is predicted to carry ahead a bundle of measures to alleviate rising vitality payments on Thursday.

Gray launched an interim report in January. That criticised the management inside Number 10, however the full detailed report was placed on maintain till the Metropolitan Police concluded its personal inquiries.

The police investigation ended final week, with 126 fines given out over occasions on eight dates. Johnson was fined for attending an impromptu party within the cupboard room.

Source: www.ft.com

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