‘Partygate’ Report Finds ‘Serious Failure’ at Heart of UK Government

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
January 31, 2022Updated: January 31, 2022

A limited version of a report into lockdown-breaching parties held in UK government buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic points to a “serious failure” to observe the high standards expected of those working at the heart of government.

The report was commissioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson following a series of damaging allegations of Christmas parties and other gatherings held in his official residence at Number 10 Downing Street and other government departments in Whitehall at the height of the pandemic, in violation of lockdown rules written by the government.

“A number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did,” the report, written by senior civil servant Sue Gray and published on Jan. 31, states.

Epoch Times Photo
Undated file photo of Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities. (Gov.uk/PA)

The report criticised “failures of leadership and judgment” by parts of Number 10 and the Cabinet Office.

“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,” it said.

“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.

“At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public.”

Gray said it was “not possible at present to provide a meaningful report” setting out all she had discovered, due to a continuing police investigation.

The Metropolitan Police last week asked Gray to make only “minimal reference” to gatherings being investigated by its officers. Gray said on Jan. 31 that police were investigating 12 gatherings that she had reviewed as part of her inquiry.

“Unfortunately, this necessarily means that I am extremely limited in what I can say about those events and it is not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analysing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather,” Gray said.

The main opposition Labour Party has renewed its call for Johnson to resign.

“During this crisis, our country needed a leader more than at any time since the Second World War,” shadow foreign secretary David Lammy wrote on Twitter. “We didn’t get one. This report shows what we have known all along: The prime minister is a coward, a rule-breaker and needs to step down.”

PA Media contributed to this report.