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Boris Johnson Apologises For Lockdown Breaches After Damning Sue Gray Report Is Made Public

Dominic Smithers

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Boris Johnson Apologises For Lockdown Breaches After Damning Sue Gray Report Is Made Public

Featured Image Credit: BBC/Sue Gray Report

Boris Johnson has apologised following the publication of the Sue Gray report.

The prime minister has been heavily criticised over a number of boozy parties that took place at No.10 Downing Street during the pandemic.

Released today (25 May), the report revealed stories of employees being rude to cleaners and security staff, one person vomiting, two being involved in an altercation and even a karaoke machine being brought in for a sing-along.

Gray's report said: "The events I investigated were attended by leaders in govt. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.

"Senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture."

Boris Johnson at his birthday party on 19 June 2020. Credit: Sue Gray Report
Boris Johnson at his birthday party on 19 June 2020. Credit: Sue Gray Report

In a statement to parliament today, Johnson apologised for the behaviour of staff at No.10 and for attending a birthday party held in his honour.

Johnson admitted that he 'briefly attending the gatherings' to praise members of his team for their hard work, and said that the gatherings did carry on afterwards, which was a breach of the rules he had introduced at the time.

He said: "I had no knowledge of those subsequent proceedings as I simply wasn't there."

The prime minister went on: "I take full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch.

"I am humbled and I have learned my lesson, Mr Speaker."

The Prime Minister drinking at a leaving party for a special advisor on 13 November 2020. Credit: Sue Gray Report
The Prime Minister drinking at a leaving party for a special advisor on 13 November 2020. Credit: Sue Gray Report

Johnson also said that he was 'appalled' and 'shocked' by the treatment of security and cleaning staff, claiming he had 'no knowledge' of those incidents.

However, he went on to defend his team, praising their work on the vaccine rollout.

Johnson said: "Whatever the failing of No 10 and the Cabinet Office throughout this difficult period and my own, I continue to believe the civil servants and advisers... are good, hard working people motivated... to do the very best for our country."

Johnson and Rishi Sunak at the birthday event in June 2020. Credit: Sue Gray Report
Johnson and Rishi Sunak at the birthday event in June 2020. Credit: Sue Gray Report

An interim version of Gray's report, published at the start of the year, criticised 'failures of leadership and judgement' in Downing Street and said some events should not have 'been allowed to take place'.

The full version goes further, though. Looking at some 16 events that may have broken lockdown restrictions, Gray's report states: "As I said in my 31 January update it was not for me to make a judgment on whether the criminal law had been broken: that is properly a matter for law enforcement bodies. Further to that on 19 May 2022 the Metropolitan Police announced that they had concluded their investigation.

Johnson was not fined for this event. Credit: Sue Gray Report
Johnson was not fined for this event. Credit: Sue Gray Report

"They confirmed that they had made 126 referrals for Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

"The Prime Minister and the Chancellor each confirmed that they had received an FPN in relation to the event on the 19th June 2020. The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service confirmed that he has not received an FPN."

It concludes: "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."

Topics: Boris Johnson, UK News, Politics, Coronavirus

Dominic Smithers
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