Following the publication of Sue Gray’s Partygate report, the Prime Minister is facing fresh calls for her resignation
Sue Gray’s report on lockdown busting parties at No 10 and Whitehall has been released and concludes that top leadership “must take responsibility” for culture at Downing Street.
In a Downing Street press conference following the release of the report, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he “takes responsibility for the entirety of what happened during the Partygate scandal” and that he “bitterly regrets it”.
In her report on partygate, Sue Gray said “many will be dismayed that behavior of this nature on this scale has taken place at the heart of government” and “what happened fell far short of expected standards”.
The Sue Gray report included details of gatherings where officers drank sickly, sang karaoke, got involved in arguments, and abused security and cleaning staff, at a time when millions of people across the country were making friends and… family could not see.
But senior official Ms Gray condemned the broader culture that was allowed to develop under Mr Johnson’s leadership.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons that the No 10 report had “exposed the rot” and urged Tory MPs to tell Boris Johnson “that the game is up” and that it is “time to pack his bags”.
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Last updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 6:45 p.m
Boris Johnson to have ‘audience with the Queen’
According to a Conservative Party source, the Prime Minister was due to have an “audience with the Queen” on Wednesday night following the release of Sue Grey’s Partygate Inquiry.
According to the PA news agency, the source said the meeting was “not in the flesh”.
Anger at finding “unacceptable” treatment of security and cleaning staff
An industry leader has criticized the “disdain” shown to cleaners at 10 Downing Street after it was revealed red wine was spilled on a wall after a Christmas party.
Union leaders representing civil servants have reacted with anger to the findings of Sue Gray’s Partygate report.
Jim Melvin, Chair of the British Cleaning Council, said: “At a time when many cleaning and hygiene workers were putting themselves at risk to maintain high hygiene standards and ensure key workers and the public were safe and well during the pandemic, it is absolutely appalling and galling to hear that they have been treated with such contempt by people in government or civil service who frankly should know better.
Petros Elia, general secretary of the United Voices of World union, said: “We are not the least bit surprised by the revelations in the report. We have many members who work as cleaners and security guards and these workers are abused on a daily basis in offices across London, not just Downing Street.
“It’s disrespectful to throw noisy parties during the pandemic and expect cleaners to mop up after you, but it’s also disrespectful to pay cleaners, porters, security guards… poverty wages and not pay them full sick pay or better pensions.”
Sajid Javid says people are “understandably very angry” at the behavior described in the report
Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “People are understandably very upset at the bad behavior detailed in Sue Gray’s report.
“The Prime Minister has apologized and taken full responsibility for everything that happened. Changes have already been made. Now let’s tackle the great challenges that lie ahead.”
Archbishop calls for return to good standards in public life after Partygate
The Archbishop of Canterbury has responded to Sue Gray’s report on partygate by saying “we need to rediscover good standards in public life”.
Archbishop Justin Welby said the report shows that “culture, behavior and standards in public life” are important.
In a statement, the Archbishop said: “Sue Gray’s report shows that culture, behavior and standards in public life really matter.
“We need to be able to trust our national institutions, especially in times of great difficulty.”
Boris Johnson ‘extremely apologetic’ in 1922 committee
Boris Johnson apologized directly to Tory MPs, telling them their work is now regaining public confidence in the wake of the Partygate scandal, a Conservative colleague has said.
Outside the 1922 committee meeting, Jonathan Gullis said the Prime Minister had been “extremely apologetic” and had hitherto encountered no dissenting voices.
When asked what the prime minister’s main message was, Mr Gullis told reporters: “The key message is that he is sorry and we need to win back the country’s trust.”
The ‘expectations’ PM would have to resign if found to have deliberately misled the House of Commons
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said if the Privileges Committee found Prime Minister Boris Johnson had deliberately misled the House of Commons, there was an “expectation” that he would have to resign.
Mr Ross said: “If they come to the conclusion that the Prime Minister has intentionally and willfully gone to the House of Commons to mislead the people, then the Ministerial Code is actually very clear. The expectation is that the prime minister or any other minister should resign.
Mr Ross said he was upset “at the way this was handled, originally dismissed and then issues, you know they had to be pulled out or there were people involved, both politicians and people who are in a very privileged position to serve and within the civil service or within the ruling party.
Boris Johnson arrives at the 1922 Committee meeting
Boris Johnson was greeted by the usual table clatter as he arrived at the 1922 session of the Conservative Backbench Committee in Parliament.
Mr Johnson is addressing the committee tonight.
The group has the power to submit a vote of no confidence to a leader or trigger a leadership election.
Boris Johnson rules out stepping down
Asked at the press conference if he had ever considered resigning, the Prime Minister said: “I feel overwhelmingly that my job is to move forward and deliver.
“No matter how bitter and painful the conclusions from this may be – and they are – and no matter how humiliating they are, I must move on and the government must move on. And we are.
“We’re going to keep going and keep doing the hard things.”
It remains to be seen whether that decision will be snatched out of his hands by Tory MPs who could force a vote of no confidence.
PM assumes “responsibility for the entirety of what is happening”
The Prime Minister said he “takes responsibility for the whole of what happened” during the Partygate scandal and he “bitterly regrets it”.
When asked about his own personal flaws, he said: “The best I can invite you to do is look very closely at what Sue is [Gray] said and if you read her account and look at the details where she describes my own participation in the events, what I did, how long I was there and I think you get a pretty good picture of what what’s happened.
“That doesn’t mean I don’t take responsibility for the entirety of what happened. And yes, I regret it bitterly.
“That’s why we’ve taken steps, particularly since the interim report, to drive a ton of change at No 10 and the way No 10 works and to ensure there are much clearer lines of command and everyone understands the difference between being engaged in the work and in socializing. I think that’s the key.”
Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference in Downing Street
Boris Johnson has said he personally apologized to the cleaners and No 10 security staff who were subjected to “disrespectful and poor treatment” highlighted in Sue Gray’s report.
The Prime Minister is about to hold a press conference at Downing Street.
He said: “I was appalled to learn that there were multiple examples of disrespectful treatment of land and poor treatment of cleaning and security staff in Sue Gray’s phrase.
“I have personally apologized to these dedicated employees for what happened and I expect everyone who behaved in this way to do the same.”
He added: “I’ve tried to explain the context of why I’ve been to other events saying goodbye to esteemed colleagues.
“I know some people will think it was wrong to even do that. I have to say that I respectfully disagree, I think it was correct.
“When people who have worked very hard, have worked very long hours, if they have given up a lot of money to serve their country, and they go to another part of government or leave government service altogether, that’s my opinion after right to say thank you.
“Repeating what I said earlier in the House of Commons, I believe they were work events, part of my job and that view seems to be supported by the fact that I was not fined for those events.
“Besides, I just want to say that I appreciate that things didn’t go the way I would have liked. Events then unfolded in a way I certainly didn’t want to see.
“What happened to the managers and the cleaners was just totally unacceptable and I apologize for that as I have personally apologized to them.”
https://www.nationalworld.com/news/politics/sue-gray-report-key-findings-statements-reaction-boris-johnson-mounting-pressure-3707673 Report by Sue Grey: Findings, Explanations and Reactions