Boris Johnson urged to resign after publication of Sue Gray report

The Prime Minister said he takes 'full responsibility' for everything that took place on his watch during lockdown.

Boris Johnson urged to resign after publication of Sue Gray report into partygate UK Government
The report by Sue Gray was published on Wednesday following the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police investigation.

Boris Johnson has faced fresh demands to resign after the publication of Sue Gray’s report into lawbreaking parties held at Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic.

The senior civil servant stated that the public would be “dismayed” by the behaviour uncovered.

Her report was published on the UK Government website on Wednesday morning ahead of PMQs.

It included “multiple examples” of a lack of respect and poor treatment of cleaning and security staff at No 10, the report said.

Gray condemned the culture that had been allowed to develop under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

And she outlined that the senior leadership at No 10 must “bear responsibility” for that culture.

Johnson addressed the report in a statement that he made to the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said that he takes “full responsibility” for everything that took place on his watch.

He also apologised one again for the gatherings held during the pandemic as he told MPs that he had been “humbled” by experience and that he had learned his lesson.

Boris Johnson was photographed in the Cabinet room with Rishi Sunak in June 2020.
Boris Johnson was photographed in the Cabinet room with Rishi Sunak in June 2020.

Within the report, a series of photographs were published, one of which shows Johnson raising what appears to be a can of beer in the Cabinet room.

He was joined by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the photos showed.

Other photos include the previously-seen images of Johnson raising a glass of wine at a leaving do for his former spin doctor Lee Cain on November 13, 2020.

Amongst its findings, the Gray report gave details of gatherings at which officials drank so much they were sick and sang karaoke.

And it said that some became involved in altercations and abused security and cleaning staff at a time when millions of people across the country were unable to see friends and family.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons that report “laid bare the rot” in No 10 and called on Tory MPs to tell Boris Johnson “the game is up” and that it is “time to pack his bags”.

“We waited for the Sue Gray report. The country can’t wait any longer,” Starmer said.

“The value symbolised by the door of Number 10 must be restored. Members opposite must finally do their bit, they must tell the current inhabitant, their leader, that his has gone on too long.

“The game is up. You cannot be a lawmaker and a law breaker.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford branded the report “damning” and called the Prime Minister to resign for “orchestrating” the scenes in Downing Street.

“The Prime Minister brings shame on the office, and has displayed contempt not only to the members of this House, but to every single person who followed the rules,” he added.

The Prime Minister will address the public at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon and then faces the Tory MPs who will ultimately decide his fate at a private meeting in Parliament.

Former minister Tobias Ellwood pressed Johnson on the issue (UK Parliament TV)Parliament TV
Former minister Tobias Ellwood pressed Johnson on the issue (UK Parliament TV)

Senior backbencher Tobias Ellwood, a prominent critic of the Prime Minister, challenged Mr Johnson over the “damning report” which revealed an “absence of leadership, focus and discipline in No 10”.

He asked fellow Tories “‘are you willing day in and day out to defend this behaviour publicly” and asked: “Can we win the general election on this current trajectory?”

Johnson also failed to deny asking Sue Gray not to publish her report.

Conservative MP Aaron Bell asked the PM if he asked Sue Gray not to publish the report. (UK Parliament TV)Parliament TV
Conservative MP Aaron Bell asked the PM if he asked Sue Gray not to publish the report. (UK Parliament TV)

Conservative MP Aaron Bell pressed the Prime Minister on the issue following newspaper reports.

“When I asked the Prime Minster about Sue Gray’s interim findings on January 31, he asked me to wait for the inquiry report. He asked many members that day to the same thing,” Bell told the Commons.

“Subsequently, he has asked the media to wait for the findings of the report. And he knows many colleagues on these benches have told their constituents they are waiting for the inquiry report.

“So, I was very surprised to read in The Times the intimation that he may have asked Sue Gray not to publish the report at all. Is there any truth to that suggestion Prime Minister?

Johnson responded: “What Sue Gray has published is entirely for Sue Gray and it is a wholly independent report.”

Following the statement of the Prime Minister in the Commons, Scottish secretary Alister Jack said that Boris Johnson has his “full support”.

“I understand that people are angry about what happened in Downing Street,” said Jack.

“The Prime Minister has apologised again today, and made clear that he takes full responsibility for what went on in No 10. Lessons have been learned and changes have been made within No 10.

“The Prime Minister has my full support. He is tackling the rising cost of living at home and leading the international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Now, we all need to get behind him and back him in dealing with these important issues.”

Key findings in Sue Gray’s report

– Staff carried on drinking in No 10 until the early hours of the morning on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, with the last departure recorded at 4.20am.

– Johnson joined five advisers in a “food and alcohol” event in his Downing Street flat on the evening of the announcement of Dominic Cummings’ departure as chief adviser.

– Former proprietary and ethics chief Helen MacNamara provided a karaoke machine for a Cabinet Office gathering where one individual was sick and there was a “minor altercation” between two others.

– Then-senior adviser to the Prime Minister Martin Reynolds boasted “we seem to have got away with” the bring-your-own-booze garden party in a WhatsApp message to a special adviser.

– Johnson brought the cheese and wine to the garden gathering on May 15 2020 from his own flat.