Boris Johnson takes ‘full responsibility’ for partygate

Boris Johnson has taken “full responsibility” for the drinking culture and breaking the law in Downing Street during the Covid pandemic, after senior official Sue Gray announced a harsh sentence over the partying.

Gray’s 37-page report – plus the photos – is an indictment of behavior at 10 Downing Street in the midst of a national crisis, as the rest of the country is watching the Covid lockdowns. .

It talks about Downing Street staff drinking excessively in the early hours and citing cases of vomiting, fighting and spilling red wine on the walls and “many examples of disrespect and poor treatment of staff”. security and sanitation officer”.

Johnson, who was fined by police for attending a party, apologized to MPs but rejected calls to resign. He affirmed that it is time to “step forward” from the scandal of the parties.

The civilian agency’s leadership was also strongly criticized by Gray, but Simon Case, the head of the civil service, is expected to stay in his post, according to senior government figures.

Johnson, in a statement to MPs, said he was “responsible for everything that happened in my observations”, adding: “I am humbled and I have learned”.

However, Labor MPs mocked Johnson when he explained the “background” of the party, saying staff had been working “lots of hours”, that No 10 was a big building and the majority of no party day.

The Prime Minister insists he does not lie to MPs about Downing Street parties, saying he thinks he is attending work events or that he is not present at absence parties.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labor leader, called on Tory MPs to oust Johnson, saying Gray’s report “left the rots that under this prime minister have spread in Number 10”.

No new Conservative MPs called for Johnson to step down, but Tory’s seat quickly emptied when Johnson spoke, showing his warm support. Starmer said Tory MPs had set the bar for Johnson’s behavior as “below the belly of a snake”.

Gray’s report, which included nine photographs of Johnson at various events, concluded that “many of these events should not have been allowed to happen”.

“There are also cases where some junior civil servants believe they are allowed to participate in some of these events when senior leaders are present,” she added.

Pointing to both Johnson and Case, she concluded: “The top leadership at the center, both political and bureaucratic, has to take responsibility for this culture.”

Boris Johnson and Simon Case at a gathering in the Cabinet Room in Downing Street on 19 June 2020 © UK Government

Gray concluded in his report: “Many will be disappointed that this kind of behavior has taken place on this scale right at the heart of government. The public has a right to expect the highest standards of behavior in such places, and clearly what has happened is not consistent with this.”

However, she said: “It is my firm belief. . . that these events did not reflect the popular culture in government and civil service at the time. “

Johnson drew laughter from MPs when he said “the whole senior management has changed” in Number 10. Both the prime minister and Case, who hold the most senior leadership roles, have remained the same. location.

Following Johnson’s statement to MPs, he will hold a press conference in Downing Street before speaking about his party behind closed doors.

Before Gray’s report was released, most Conservative MPs had concluded that Johnson would survive the partisan affair, even though his reputation had been tarnished in the eyes of many voters.

Johnson’s allies are confident the prime minister will not face a motion of no confidence – the letters demand a required letter from 54 Tory MPs to trigger such a run – regardless despite the latest revelations.

The Prime Minister hopes to quickly get out of the partisan scandal; Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to introduce a package of measures to ease rising energy bills on Thursday.

Gray released an interim report in January criticizing leadership in Number 10, but the full report was withheld until the Metropolitan Police concluded its own investigations.

The police investigation ended last week, with 126 fine given through events on eight days. Johnson was fined for attending an impromptu birthday party in his closet.

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