Sue Grey’s preliminary report into alleged lockdown-breaching occasions at Downing Road in the course of the pandemic is gentle on element, however condemns inappropriate conduct
The UK authorities obtained Sue Grey’s report into alleged pandemic rule-breaking at Downing Road on Monday morning. Shortly after, a restricted model of the Cupboard Workplace inquiry into ‘Partygate’ was made public.
The 12-page doc was anticipated to be pivotal in figuring out Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future. Nonetheless, Grey acknowledged she was
“extraordinarily restricted” by a request from the Met police to solely embrace “minimal reference” to occasions it is usually investigating – and the doc doesn’t embrace the bombshells some had been anticipating.
What was beneath investigation?
Senior civil servant Sue Grey was commissioned by the federal government to research a sequence of occasions at Downing Road, the PM’s workplace and residence, allegedly in breach of his personal Covid-19 guidelines. She was tapped for the job after the Cupboard Secretary Simon Case, who was initially given the duty, was accused of being conscious of lockdown-breaching occasions in his personal workplace.
Grey’s probe got down to examine 16 occasions on 12 dates over a 20-month interval, together with a gathering within the Downing Road backyard on Could 15, 2020 and a celebration in Johnson’s workplace on his birthday in June that yr – two occasions extensively reported within the media. Her report notes that every one however 4 of the 12 dates had been being investigated by the Met Police; thus her report primarily issues these 4 occasions, which occurred between Could and December of 2020. These occasions included gatherings for the departure of a particular adviser, an occasion within the Division of Training forward of the Christmas break and a Christmas quiz at Quantity Ten. Grey made clear in her report how restricted she was by the Met police probe. “I’m extraordinarily restricted in what I can say about these occasions [under police investigation],” she wrote, including it was subsequently “not attainable at current to supply a significant report setting out and analysing the in depth factual info” she was in a position to collect.
What had been the preliminary findings?
Whereas brief on element, the doc printed on Monday accuses the federal government of widespread misconduct.
“A few of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is troublesome to justify,” the report reads, referencing the stringent restrictions Britons lived beneath in the course of the peak of the pandemic. Grey famous that some individuals had “sadly even died whereas observing the Authorities’s laws and steering rigorously” and that officers had did not stay as much as the anticipated requirements. She stated “too little thought” was given to the group of those occasions, together with a dearth of consideration for the general public well being dangers and little consciousness of how they’d be seen by the general public. “A few of the occasions mustn’t have been allowed to happen. Different occasions mustn’t have been allowed to develop as they did,” the report reads. It additionally condemns “the extreme consumption of alcohol” and calls on the federal government to determine strict protocol to control its consumption sooner or later. Grey stated the usage of the Downing Road backyard as a extra Covid-safe working space was “ wise” and “ appreciated” however that the area shouldn’t be used for any gatherings with out clear oversight. Grey additionally raised issues about constructions in place to control the workers at Quantity 10 Downing Road. She stated that workers numbers have risen significantly in recent times, however constructions to handle the big physique of civil servants had not. One impression of that is the “blurring of strains of accountability.” The report additionally notes that some staff felt unable to lift their issues about behaviors they witnessed at work.
How was the report carried out?
Grey was supported by a small group of civil servants within the Cupboard Workplace, none of whom had connections with the occasions beneath examination.
Round 70 people had been interviewed by Grey and her group; some had been interviewed greater than as soon as. Related documentary and digital info, equivalent to emails, WhatsApp messages, textual content messages, pictures and constructing entry and exit logs had been additionally examined. Grey famous it was not her function to make any judgement “on whether or not the prison regulation has been damaged” and that remained a matter for regulation enforcement. She stated she had been in “common contact” with the Met Police all through the probe.
What does it imply for Boris Johnson?
The report doesn’t point out the prime minister by title or make any reference to misdemeanors that he personally is alleged to have dedicated.
Johnson had steadily referred to as on lawmakers and the general public to await the findings of Grey’s report. The prime minister, in addition to the British public, will now want to attend for the result of the Met Police’s probe. The Metropolitan police has stated it has obtained 300 pictures and 500 pages of paperwork concerning the Partygate allegations from Grey’s group and is working to contact everybody it must. Johnson prolonged his apology on Monday, insisting that he and his authorities might be trusted, stating “I get it and I’ll repair it.” The PM stated he could be making modifications to the best way during which the federal government is run. Labour Get together chief Keir Starmer delivered a damning speech, condemning Johnson and his authorities; nonetheless, a lot of the PM’s personal occasion defended their chief, whereas quite a few senior Tories, together with Theresa Could, stopped in need of backing the embattled chief.