Search icon


31st Jan 2022

Sue Gray report into Downing Street parties is published

Ava Evans

Sue Gray has published her initial findings into the Downing Street lockdown parties

Civil servant Sue Gray has published her initial findings into her investigation into Downing Street lockdown parties.

Gray has identified a “serious failure to observe high standards” at No 10 and “failures of leadership”.

“Against the backdrop of the pandemic, 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.

“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.

“At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public. 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.

“The excessive consumption of alcohol is 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.”

Sue Gray was drafted in last month to handle the now infamous inquiry into alleged Downing Street lockdown breaches, after top Civil Servant Simon Case was forced to step aside following reports a drinks reception was held in his office.

Case is still responsible for any potential sackings of Civil Servants, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson decides the fate of any political dismissals.

The senior civil servant has previously carried out a number of high-profile investigations in Government, including the likes of ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell over “plebgate”, and then-Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green, who was found to have made a “misleading”statement to police regarding pornography on his office computer.

Originally the inquiry was set to examine a leaving party on the 27th November 2020 where Boris Johnson is said to have given a speech, and a Christmas party which Johnson did not attend on 18 December 2020.

Over the course of the investigation, parameters were widened to include other events including the now infamous BYOB garden party on the 20th May 2020, where those attending were sent an email invitation by the principal private secretary to the prime minister, Martin Reynolds.

The internal inquiry had access to internal emails, calendar invites and Downing Street exit and entry logs with one report suggesting mobile phones had been seized from some Number 10 officials.

Last Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into parties held at Downing Street during covid lockdowns.

Speaking in the Commons Boris Johnson said he welcomed the police investigation, telling MPs “I believe it will help to give the public the clarity it needs and help to draw a line under matters”.

Meanwhile, Labour has said the police investigation meant Johnson’s leadership is now untenable.

In a statement, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “With Boris Johnson’s Downing Street now under police investigation, how on earth can he think he can stay on as Prime Minister?

“Millions of people are struggling to pay the bills, but Boris Johnson and his government are too wrapped up in scandal to do anything about it. Boris Johnson is a national distraction.”

Read the full report here.

Related Links