Downing Street pledges to publish Sue Gray update after pressure on Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson pledged to release an updated version of Sue Gray’s report into Downing Street parties last night after he was forced into a u-turn following pressure from his own backbenches.

Officials promised that they would ask Ms Gray for another document once the Metropolitan Police have finished its inquiries into 12 alleged lockdown-busting events at the heart of the Government.

The senior civil servant looked into 16 events, and pinned the scandal on “failures of leadership and judgement” in Number 10 in her long-awaited update released yesterday lunchtime, which also revealed that one of the events under investigation is a gathering in Mr Johnson’s private Downing Street flat.

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Another event being looked at by Scotland Yard is the leaving do held for current Sheffield Council chief executive Kate Josephs in December 2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report (UK Parliament)Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report (UK Parliament)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivering a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report (UK Parliament)
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Kate Josephs Partygate: Sheffield Council chief executive's leaving do under pol...

She had been working in the Cabinet Office Covid Taskforce unit, which was responsible for drawing up the restrictions banning social events.

More than 300 pictures have been handed to the Metropolitan Police to assist them in their inquiries, the force confirmed.

Mr Johnson faced MPs in the House of Commons for 90 minutes yesterday afternoon, with colleagues voicing concerns over his leadership, as well as sharing their own tales of loss and sacrifice during the pandemic.

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However, many also asked for a commitment that the report would be published in full once Scotland Yard had completed its inquiries.

In response to the mounting pressure from Tory MPs, Downing Street later confirmed that Mr Johnson will publish an updated report from Ms Gray once the police investigation has concluded.

Ms Gray’s limited update on the state of her investigation contained little detail, due to the police investigation, but was still scathing about the culture and leadership which led to the events at a time when most of the population was abiding by Covid-19 restrictions.

While the document was only 12 pages long, Ms Gray criticised the “failures of leadership and judgment” in parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office and said that “some of the events should not have been allowed to take place”.

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She added: “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify.

“At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.”

In response to the report, Mr Johnson insisted that he would shake up his Number 10 team, and introduce an Office of the Prime Minister with a permanent secretary to lead Number 10.

Giving a statement to MPs an hour after the Gray update was published, the Prime Minister said: “Firstly, I want to say sorry – and I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.

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“It’s no use saying this or that was within the rules and it’s no use saying people were working hard. This pandemic was hard for everyone.”

Mr Johnson added: “I get it, and I will fix it. I want to say to the people of this country I know what the issue is.”