Sue Gray report finds lockdown party behaviour was 'unacceptable'

EDITORS NOTE IMAGE REDACTED AT SOURCE Handout photo dated 19/06/20 issued by the Cabinet Office show

A photo from the Sue Gray report showing prime minister Boris Johnson (right) at a gathering in the Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street on his birthday. - Credit: PA

Sue Gray's report on lockdown parties held at Downing Street during lockdown has been released, finding behaviour from those at the heart of Boris Johnson's government "fell well short" of what is expected.

The report, which was released this morning, said “senior leadership” must “bear responsibility” for the culture which led to coronavirus rules being broken.

It said the public would be “dismayed” by a series of breaches of restrictions in 10 Downing Street and Whitehall.

The report is 37 pages long and features nine pictures of the rule-breaking parties, including images of prime minister Boris Johnson, chancellor Rishi Sunak and cabinet secretary Simon Case.

Second permanent secretary in the cabinet office, Sue Gray, who compiled the report, said: “The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen."

In her report, the senior civil servant condemned the wider culture that had been allowed to develop under Mr Johnson’s leadership.

EDITORS NOTE IMAGE REDACTED AT SOURCE Handout photo dated 19/06/20issued by the Cabinet Office showi

An image from the Sue Gray report showing prime minister Boris Johnson (left) and chancellor Rishi Sunak at a gathering in the Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street on his birthday. - Credit: PA

She said some of the more junior officials who attended parties “believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders”.

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Ms Gray added: “The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture."

She also said there were “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff” during the events, which was “unacceptable”.

Ms Gray said “Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of government.

EDITORS NOTE IMAGE REDACTED AT SOURCE Handout photo dated 13/11/20 issued by the Cabinet Office show

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a gathering in 10 Downing Street for the departure of a special adviser. - Credit: PA

“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.”

The Metropolitan Police has issued 126 fines for rule breaches, with the prime minister receiving a single fixed-penalty notice for his birthday party.

Mr Johnson will apologise to MPs in a Commons statement later.

The prime minister is expected to say he will “accept full responsibility for my failings” over the scandal.

He is expected to tell 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.”

He will say he has learned the lessons from the situation.