- An investigation report into the UK partygate scandal blamed top officials in PM Johnson’s office.
- Senior civil servant Sue Gray’s long-awaited report into the “partygate” scandal was revealed today.
- It said senior leadership must take responsibility for a culture that allowed the scandal to happen.
UK Partygate scandal: An investigation report into the UK partygate scandal, that involves PM Boris Johnson, blamed top officials in his office for allowing a ‘culture of rule-breaking’. The report said that the practice must stop. Senior civil servant Sue Gray’s long-awaited report into the “partygate” scandal said the “senior leadership team … must bear responsibility” for a culture that allowed events to take place that “should not have been allowed to happen.”
Gray investigated 16 gatherings attended by Johnson and his staff in 2020 and 2021 while people in the U.K. were barred from socializing under coronavirus restrictions imposed by Johnson’s Conservative government. Gray said there had been “failures of leadership and judgment in No. 10,” a reference to the prime minister’s Downing Street office. “Those in the most junior positions attended gatherings at which their seniors were present, or indeed organized,” she said.
Johnson to address Parliament on the report’s findings
Boris Johnson will address the Parliament later today, in response to the latest partygate report. A separate police investigation resulted in 83 people getting hit with fines, including Johnson — making him the first British prime minister ever found to have broken the law while in office. The scandal has led to calls for Johnson to resign.
He previously apologized but insisted he didn’t knowingly break the rules. The British media and opposition politicians have found that hard to square with staff members’ accounts of “bring your own booze” parties and regular “wine time Fridays” in the prime minister’s 10 Downing St. office at the height of the pandemic.
What is the UK Partygate scandal?
When the world was locked inside their homes due to a widespread Covid 19, claims surfaced that alleged Boris Johnson and his staff enjoyed illegal office parties in the years 2020 and 2021. The social gatherings took place at 10 Downing St. over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, including when the country had imposed strict lockdown measures. Later, senior civil servant Sue Gray’s interim report said a gathering in the 70 Whitehall building was held to mark the departure of a No 10 private secretary.
But Gray’s conclusions could revive calls from Conservative lawmakers for a no-confidence vote on the leader who won them a big parliamentary majority just over two years ago. Under party rules, such a vote is triggered if 15% of party lawmakers — currently 54 people — write letters calling for one. If Johnson lost such a vote, he would be replaced as Conservative leader and prime minister. It’s unclear how many letters have been submitted so far.
Environment Secretary George Eustice defended the prime minister on Wednesday but acknowledged that the “boundary between what was acceptable and what wasn’t got blurred, and that was a mistake.”
“The prime minister himself has accepted that and recognizes there were of course failings and therefore there’s got to be some changes to the way the place is run,” Eustice told Times Radio.
(With inputs from AP)