It’s my party and I’ll lie if I want to – Gray report

The evidence was overwhelming before today that Johnson had been to parties when they were barred by his own government’s rules. That’s bad.

With Sue Gray’s report now before parliament and the public, it is clear if it wasn’t before, that Johnson has repeatedly lied about parties and whether he attended any. That’s seriously bad.

Gray’s report has now been published. Thirty-seven pages. Nine photos. Vomiting, red wine on the walls, fighting, sitting on laps, karaoke, pizzas, prosecco, birthday drinks, sleeping in the office, overflowing bins, leaving drunk by the back door to avoid the press pack outside the front door, along with poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. Classic signs of parties but we have been repeatedly told that there were no parties, just meetings, and Johnson did not attend any parties.

Johnson is likely to survive this because Conservatives haven’t got the guts to remove him. Although perhaps the truth is that they have no one to replace him.

There has been a steady stream of new revelations and photographs as blame has yo-yoed between politicians and civil servants. The Met police issued 126 fixed-penalty notices relating to gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall, including for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak over a birthday party held for the prime minister while curbs on indoor gatherings were in place. Panorama last night revealed the Downing Street staff had regular diary slots for WTF – Wine Time Friday.

The details of the events in the Gray report are largely snippets of colour to a story that is well known. The underlying issue is the culture in government that leads to the rules it imposes on the rest of us being broken for the chance of a workplace booze up. And that the prime minister was both oblivious and complicit in this culture. Instead of saying go home to bed, he raised a glass.

Although the Partygate revelations have obsessed the media and political pundits Johnson is unlikely to be toppled by this. When knocked back he comes back more bruising than ever.

Conservative Party MPs can initiate a no confidence vote in the leader when 15% (54 MPs) write to the chair of the party’s 1922 Committee. Torys have been briefed to tell the media that a 12-week leadership election during a war, during a cost of living crisis or, it seems during any month with an “R” in its name, would threaten the national interest.

Pinning her criticism on the failures of leadership and judgment in No 10 and the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray concluded:

“Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time. Even allowing for the extraordinary pressures officials and advisers were under, the factual findings of this report illustrate some attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with that guidance. It is also clear, from the outcome of the police investigation, that a large number of individuals (83) who attended these events breached Covid regulations and therefore Covid guidance.”

And focusing in on this being a Downing Street problem, Gray said:

“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. It is my firm belief, however, that these events did not reflect the prevailing culture in Government and the Civil Service at the time.”

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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6 Comments

  • It is a sad reality that Johnson will probably survive Sue Gray,s inquiry but what a terrible situation our country faces in the midst of another crisis, left with a leader and government without credibility or trust just when we need intelligent and respected people to help us all through very difficult period.

  • Helen Dudden 25th May '22 - 2:04pm

    With families going hungry and cold, as with the older and those unwell with disabilities.
    One doctors surgery in Bath, told their patients that only sick people can attend because of the overload of just too many.
    Millions wasted on faulty PPE, this government funding should be repaid, how could anyone rob an NHS hospital.
    For too long it’s been an easy target.
    How can this situation be acceptable?
    I also believe that alcohol in the Commons flows more than it should, as with subsidised restaurant food.
    Unless, things change, Johnson remains, the fear that worse could happen with change.
    Today, is a shocking state of affairs of where we are as a country, run by law breakers.

  • Do we really want his resignation? Change the Leader and we could miss out at Tiverton
    etc

  • Barry Lofty 25th May '22 - 5:43pm

    [email protected] I would like to believe that the country might think the Tory Party itself have played a large part in the lowering of respect for the politicians entrusted with the honour of representing our country , but given past experience you do have a point, but two more years of Johnson does not fill me with any confidence or do much for my blood pressure?

  • The Gray report adds to the question to the police – given the grounds on which members of the public were fined the maximum fine of £10,000, why weren’t these fines handed out to those attending No. 10 – the CCTV and entry/exit logs would have recorded every person present. If any one objected they could prove their case in (public) court.

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