'Partygate' Report Is Out, and It's 'Damning'

Senior civil servant Sue Gray’s much-anticipated report on Boris Johnson's government is out
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2022 4:00 PM CDT
'Partygate' Report Details Vomiting, Wine on Walls
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference in Downing Street, London, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, following the publication of Sue Gray's report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall.   (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP)

It's been a long trickle of stories about the alleged partying that happened during the COVID lockdown among Boris Johnson's government, but none quite like this one. A probe into "Partygate" was released Wednesday, and the Guardian calls it a "damning verdict on the party culture in Boris Johnson’s Downing Street." Among the more headline-grabbing details included in the 37-page report by senior civil servant Sue Gray: One person vomited at a June 18, 2020, gathering and two others fought; security logs show some staffers partied until 4am: cleaners found spilled wine on the walls; and drunk staffers were cautioned to leave via the back entrance.

CNN reports the investigation looked into 16 events that occurred during lockdown and included new photos of Johnson at two different parties. At one held for his birthday, he was photographed holding a can of beer aloft. Johnson spoke in Parliament almost immediately following the release of the report, and said he was "humbled" and took "full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch," noting he "briefly attended such gatherings to thank them for their service, which I believe is one of the essential duties of leadership." But he also reiterated that he had been in the dark about how things escalated after he left some events.

The BBC highlights part of Gray's conclusion: "Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen. It is also the case that some of the more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. The senior leadership at the center, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture." A parliamentary committee is separately looking into whether Johnson misled lawmakers with his initial denial that such parties had occurred. The AP notes that "most lawmakers in Johnson’s governing Conservative Party have stood by him for now, and it’s not yet clear if ... Gray’s much-anticipated report will change that." (More Boris Johnson stories.)

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