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‘Partygate’ report released, Boris Johnson faces renewed calls to resign

Jan 31, 2022


The long-awaited “Partygate” report was released Monday, and for the second time in three weeks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in Parliament apologizing for a series of Downing Street parties that took place when the country was in lockdown. The video shows clips of Johnson’s comments. The report found “some of the behavior 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,” the report, published by senior civil servant Sue Gray, said. “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.”

The report not only took issue with the lockdown parties, but it also noted “excessive consumption of alcohol” that was “not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.” According to the Partygate report, “some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviors they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.”

“No member of staff should feel unable to report or challenge poor conduct where they witness it,” the report said. “There should be easier ways for staff to raise such concerns informally, outside of the line management chain.”

Speaking in front of parliament, Prime Minister Johnson said he is “making changes now to the way Downing Street and the Cabinet Office run” in the wake of the Partygate report.

“First, it is time to sort out what Sue Gray rightly calls the fragmented and complicated leadership structures of Downing Street, which she says have not evolved sufficiently,” Johnson said. “I get it and I will fix it.”

Despite pledging to make changes, Johnson received additional pressure to resign Monday.

“Prime Minister, the British public aren’t fools,” Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said, addressing Johnson in Parliament Monday. “They think the prime minister should do the decent thing and resign. Of course he won’t, because he is a man without shame.”


Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister: “And first, I want to express my deepest gratitude to Sue Gray and all the people who have contributed to this report, which I have placed in the library of this House and which the government has published in full today for everyone to read.”

“I will address its findings in this statement, but firstly, I want to say sorry, and I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way that this matter has been handled. And it’s no use saying that this or that was within the rules. And he’s no use saying that people were working hard. This pandemic was hard for everyone. We asked people across this country to make the most extraordinary sacrifices, not to meet loved ones, not to visit relatives before they died. And I understand the anger the people feel.”

“But Mr Speaker, it isn’t enough to say sorry, this is a moment when we must look ourselves in the mirror and we must learn. And while the Metropolitan Police must yet complete their investigation, and that means there are no details of specific events in Sue Gray’s report, I, of course, accept Sue Gray’s general findings in full and above all, her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now.”

Keir Starmer, UK Opposition Labour Party leader: “He gleefully treats what should be a mark of shame as a welcome shield. But Prime Minister, the British public aren’t fools. They never believed a word of it. They think the prime minister should do the decent thing and resign. Of course he won’t, because he is a man without shame.”

Theresa May, former British Prime Minister: “The COVID regulations impose significant restrictions on the freedoms of members of the public. They had a right to expect their prime minister to have read the rules, to understand the meaning of the rules and indeed those around him to have done so too, and to set an example in following those rules. What, the Gray Report does show is that No. 10 Downing Street was not observing the regulations they had imposed on members of the public. So although my right honorable friend had not read the rules or didn’t understand what they meant and others around him, or they didn’t think the rules apply to No. 10. Which was it?”

Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster leader: “Amidst allegations of blackmail by Tory whips, the members opposite have been defending the indefensible. Wait for the report, we were told. Well, here it is, and it tells us very little. Except it does state that there were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No. 10. It states that some events should not have been allowed to take place. That is the prime minister’s responsibility. If there is any honour, any honour in public life, then he would resign.”