5 things we learnt from Sue Gray’s damning update into Downing Street parties

‘Behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify’

Boris Johnson

Today was the day many of us had been waiting for, including many Tory MPs who want to get rid of Boris Johnson, the publication of Sue Gray’s report into illegal Downing Street parties. Albeit, this wasn’t what many of us had expected.

Instead of a full report being published, Sue Gray provided an update, with much of the report redacted following a request from the Met Police who have launched their own investigation.

Nonetheless the pared back version of the report included some pretty damning findings for Boris Johnson and Downing Street.

1.‘Behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify’

The first finding of the ‘report’ stated that ‘when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify.’ Showing once more that while the government was asking the rest of us to stay at home, those who were responsible for making the rules clearly didn’t think that the rules applied to them.

2.’Failures of leadership’

The update including a scathing assessment of the leadership in Downing Street, with Gray concluding that ‘there were 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 been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”

3.Excessive consumption of alcohol

The investigation also found an excessive consumption of alcohol and said that it was ‘not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time. Steps must be taken to ensure that every Government Department has a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace.’

4. ‘Serious failure to observe high standards expected’

The investigation’s initial update also found that ‘at least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.’

5. This is not yet the ‘meaningful report’

It’s crucial to note that there may still be a lot more yet to come, this report was called an ‘update’ and Gray herself has been keen to stress that this was not a ‘meaningful report’.

Gray states: “As a result of the Metropolitan Police’s investigations, and so as not to prejudice the police investigative process, they have told me that it would only be appropriate to make minimal reference to the gatherings on the dates they are investigating.

“Unfortunately, this necessarily means that I am extremely limited in what I can say about those events and it is not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analysing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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