‘Blood on your filthy privileged hands’: What the papers said about the Sue Gray report

Majority of the UK’s newspapers focus on government hypocrisy, but some downplayed report’s findings

Lamiat Sabin
Thursday 26 May 2022 10:51
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Boris Johnson's full statement after Sue Gray report

Prime minister Boris Johnson has faced calls for him to resign over a report that laid bare the extent of illegal socialising at Downing Street during Covid lockdown.

The long-awaited Sue Gray report – named after the senior civil servant in charge of leading the inquiry into Partygate – was published on Wednesday, and the story has made nearly all the front pages.

The vast majority of the newspapers have focused on the government’s hypocrisy, noting that the revelations had particularly upset those who, during the pandemic, were not allowed – by law – to see their loved ones, be beside dying relatives in hospital, or attend funerals.

However, a few chose chose to downplay the severity of the scandal, calling on the government to focus of other issues.

Here is what the newspapers had to say about the report:

The Independent says the PM was defiant as No 10 law-breaking was laid bare in Ms Gray’s final report, focusing on details of staff vomiting and spilling wine on the walls.

The i leads on Ms Gray’s findings that the lockdown events in Downing Street ammounted to a “failure of leadership” by the PM and other senior officials.

The Guardian declares that the drinking, fights and vomiting detailed in the report were “all in a day’s work”.

The Mirror says No 10 was “laughing at us all”, while the public were “sacrificing and mourning” during lockdown.

The Daily Mail has an althogether different take, presenting one of the more innoccuous photos from Sue Gray’s report and asking “Is that it?”

The Northern Echo pulls no punches, reporting on Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald’s remarks there is “blood on [Mr Johnson’s] filthy privileged hands”.

The Metro focuses on a WhatsApp message from the PM’s then-private secretary Martin Reynolds, which said staff had “gotten away” with a gathering.

The Telegraph reports on Mr Johnson’s denials of a cover-up over the so-called “Abba party” in his Downing Street flat, which Ms Gray said in her report was not investigated fully.

The Sun declares that “The party(gate) is over”, calling on the PM to now turn his full focus to the cost of living crisis.

The Morning Star hones in on Ms Gray’s conculsion that the “boozy” buck “stops with PM” after she criticised the actions of senior leaders within No 10.

The Daily Record says the Partygate report is “enough to make you sick”, playing on the revelation a member of staff drank so much at a No 10 event they vomited.

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