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Sue Gray report in full: Read the document and see the photos

‘Wine’ is mentioned 20 times in report into lockdown events that Johnson said were work meetings

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 25 May 2022 12:20 BST
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Partygate: Boris Johnson's repeated denials and excuses

Sue Gray’s report into Covid lockdown-busting parties at Downing Street has been published in full.

It comes after a heavily-redacted version was released in January as the Metropolitan Police carried out its investigations into Partygate.

The much-antipated full report gives the clearest picture so far of the events that have caused widespread public anger.

It is more than 40 pages long and contains nine photos of Partygate incidents, some which show Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak present.

Below are the first few pages and her conclusions, as well as a link to the full report:

FINDINGS OF SECOND PERMANENT SECRETARY’S INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED GATHERINGS: REPORT

1. On 8 December 2021 the Prime Minister asked the Cabinet Secretary to carry out an investigation into allegations reported in the media relating to gatherings in No 10 Downing Street and the Department for Education during November and December 2020.

2. On 17 December 2021 the Cabinet Secretary recused himself from the investigation as a result of allegations concerning an online quiz held by his private office in the Cabinet Office on 17 December 2020 in 70 Whitehall. It was at this point that I was asked to lead this work.

3. The terms of reference for the investigation were published on 9 December 2021. The primary purpose of the investigation was to establish a general understanding of the nature of the gatherings including: attendance; the setting; and the purpose, with reference to adherence to the guidance in place at the time.

4. On 31 January 2022 I published an update (appended to this report and including the detailed terms of reference and the timeline of regulations) which set out the methodology of the investigation; the 16 gatherings within its scope; and a number of limited, general findings. It also confirmed that the Metropolitan Police Service had decided to investigate events on the following dates:

  • 20 May 2020: a gathering in the garden of No 10 Downing Street for No 10 staff;
  • 8 June 2020: a gathering in No 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a No 10 official;
  • 19 June 2020: a gathering in the Cabinet room in No 10 Downing Street on the Prime Minister’s birthday;
  • 3 November 2020: a gathering in the No 10 Downing Street flat; x 13 November 2020: a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser;
  • 17 December 2020: a gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall to hold an online Christmas quiz for the Cabinet Secretary’s private office;
  • 17 December 2020: a gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a senior Cabinet Office official and a No 10 official;
  • 17 December 2020: a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of two No 10 officials;
  • 18 December 2020: a gathering in No 10 Downing Street ahead of the Christmas break;
  • 14 January 2021; a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of two No 10 officials;
  • 16 April 2021; A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a senior No 10 official;
  • 16 April 2020; gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of another No 10 official.

The Metropolitan Police assessed that the following gatherings did not reach the threshold for criminal investigation:

  • 15 May 2020: photograph showing a number of groups in the garden of No 10;
  • 27 November 2020: a gathering in No 10 on the departure of a special adviser;
  • 10 December 2020: a gathering in the Department for Education ahead of the Christmas break;
  • 15 December 2020: a gathering in No 10 for an online Christmas Quiz.

Outcome of the Metropolitan Police investigation

5. As I said in my 31 January update it was not for me to make a judgment on whether the criminal law had been broken: that is properly a matter for law enforcement bodies. Further to that on 19 May 2022 the Metropolitan Police announced that they had concluded their investigation. They confirmed that they had made 126 referrals for Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of Covid-19 regulations in relation to events on the following eight dates:

  • 20 May 2020
  • 18 June 2020
  • 19 June 2020
  • 13 November 2020
  • 17 December 2020
  • 18 December 2020
  • 14 January 2021
  • 16 April 2021

6. They did not specify to whom or in relation to which events those FPNs were issued, nor have they shared that information with me. They did confirm that a total of 83 individuals received FPNs and that some people received more than one. In order to refer for an FPN, officers were required to have a reasonable belief that the individual had committed an offence under the regulations.

7. The prime minister and the chancellor each confirmed that they had received an FPN in relation to the event on the 19th June 2020. The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service confirmed that he has not received an FPN.

8. Now that the police have concluded their enquiries I am able to set out in more detail, and in line with my terms of reference, my findings with respect to the gatherings within the scope of my investigation.

Conclusions

1. The general findings set out in my update of 3 January 2022 still stand

2. Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time. Even allowing for the extraordinary pressures officials and advisers were under, the factual findings of this report illustrate some attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with that guidance. It is also clear, from the outcome of the police investigation, that a large number of individuals (83) who attended these events breached Covid regulations and therefore Covid guidance.

3. I have already commented in my update on what I found to be failures of leadership and judgment in No 10 and the Cabinet Office. The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. 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 centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.

4. In my update I made a number of general limited findings, I am pleased progress is being made in addressing the issues I raised. I commented on the fragmentary and complicated leadership structures in No 10. Since my update there have been changes to the organisation and management of Downing Street and the Cabinet Office with the aim of creating clearer lines of leadership and accountability and now these need the chance and time to bed in.

5. I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly. I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable. I am reassured to see that steps have since been taken to introduce more easily accessible means by which to raise concerns electronically, in person or online, including directly with the Permanent Secretary in No 10. I hope that this will truly embed a culture that welcomes and creates opportunities for challenge and speaking up at all levels.

6. I also made a recommendation that steps should be taken to ensure that every government department has a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace. Since then guidance has been issued to all government departments.

7. The matter of what disciplinary action should now take place is outside of the scope of this report and is for others to consider. Nothing set out in this report can be taken as constituting a disciplinary investigation or findings of fact appropriate for such a purpose. However, I do offer a reflection: while there is no excuse for some of the behaviour set out here it is important to acknowledge that those in the most junior positions attended gatherings at which their seniors were present, or indeed organised. I have no doubt that they will have taken the learning from this experience and, while this is not a matter for me, I hope this will be taken into account in considering any disciplinary action.

8. Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of Government. The public have a right to expect the very highest standards of behaviour in such places and clearly what happened fell well short of this. It is my firm belief, however, that these events did not reflect the prevailing culture in Government and the Civil Service at the time. Many thousands of people up and down the country worked tirelessly to deliver in unprecedented times. I remain immensely proud to be a civil servant and of the work of the service and the wider public sector during the pandemic.

Read her full report here.

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