Sue Gray blames “a failure of leadership” as Downing Street report published

"Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place"

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future is in the balance after Sue Gray’s report into alleged gatherings at Downing Street was released today (January 31).

In total, it was revealed that Gray investigated 16 separate gatherings – including three that were not previously known about.

Gray concluded that some of these events “should not have been allowed to take place.”

She went on to say “too little thought” was given to public health concerns and confirmed that the Metropolitan Police is investigating 12 events, on eight separate dates for alleged coronavirus rule-breaking.

These include the 20 May 2020 “bring your own booze” event in Downing Street’s garden and the PM’s birthday on June 19, 2020.

The police are also investigating a gathering on November 13, 2020 at Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

Leader of The Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command, Commander Catherine Roper told BBC News: “The offences under investigation, where proven, would normally result in the issuing of a fixed penalty notice.”

She added that officers investigating the alleged breaches had been handed “well over” 500 pieces of paper, and over 300 photographs so far. Individuals “identified as having potentially breached” the rules, will be approached, added Roper.

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Boris Johnson. CREDIT: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Gray went on to say that she had been “extremely limited” in what she can say while the police enquiry continues and could therefore not publish a “meaningful” report at this stage.

Gray continued: “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.”

Gray added that an “excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.”

Downing Street said in a statement to the BBC that the Prime Minister would “ask Sue Gray to update her work in light of what is found” by the Metropolitan Police, when they have finished their inquiries.

In the House of Commons, Johnson said he accepted the report’s findings in full.

He added: “I am sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the British public think Johnson should “do the decent thing and resign” but went on to say the Prime Minister is “a man without shame”.

Last week, Professor Green took aim at Johnson with his new single ‘Dance Like A Tory’.

The London rapper – real name Stephen Manderson – released the satirical song today (January 31) in response to the recent parties scandal that’s engulfed Downing Street and led to calls for Johnson to resign.

‘Dance Like A Tory’ is described as “a playful prod at the privileged politicians who believed that they’re too important to follow the very rules that they made”. It was accompanied with a tongue-in-cheek video in which Green takes on the role of Johnson at a coronavirus press conference.

It’s popping off on Downing Street / My favourite restaurant just closed down / The doors to 338 are closed / While Number 10 gets down,” Green raps in the single. “Ain’t a party, it’s a work event.”

He adds: “Nobody cared about care homes, they should’ve all been in their homes / Instead they were all ‘round Boris’, all getting down with their Doris.”

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