Sue Gray report: Live updates as Boris Johnson to make statement on No 10 'partygate' findings

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Sue Gray’s redacted report on the “partygate” allegations of lockdown-busting gatherings in No 10 and Whitehall has been published.

She found that “at least some of the gatherings” she investigated 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”.

Police are investigating the gathering in the Cabinet Room in No 10 on Boris Johnson’s birthday in 2020, the report suggests.

The House of Commons confirmed that the Prime Minister will make a statement to MPs on the inquiry at 3.30pm.

Follow our live blog below for the latest updates on the report:

Live updates as Boris Johnson to make statement on Sue Gray’s ‘partygate’ report

Key Events

  • Sue Gray hands Boris Johnson a version of her partygate inquiry
  • The redacted report on the allegations of lockdown-busting gatherings in No 10 has been published
  • Police investigating gatherings on at least eight separate occasions, report suggests
  • Boris Johnson will make a statement to MPs on the inquiry at 3.30pm

The Prime Minister insisted he is the man to lead the UK through the current “challenging time”

The Prime Minister insisted he is the man to lead the UK through the current “challenging time” and defended the record of Number 10, after he was accused of “flying on the seat of his pants”.

Labour MP Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) said: “I have known the Prime Minister a long time and we have always got on quite well. He is not a wicked man, but he is a man that for years in every job has got by flying on the seat of his pants.

“He has a chaotic management style. That is the question of character. Can I ask him, really, to look in the mirror as he said this morning and say, ‘Am I the man at this challenging time for the country abroad and home?’ In every sense, has he the character to carry on and do that job?”

Labour backbench MPs shouted: “No!”

The Prime Minister replied: “Yes, Mr Speaker, because, quite frankly, I think it was absolutely indispensable that we had a strong Number 10 that was able to take us out of the EU despite all efforts of the party opposite to block it, but not only that, a booster and a vaccine campaign that were led by Number 10 that have made a dramatic difference, not just to the health of this country but to the economic fortunes of this country.

“Whatever he says about me and my leadership that is what we have delivered in the last year alone.”

Man who was fined for breaking lockdown rules “wants his money back"

A man who was fined almost £2,000 for breaking lockdown rules has called for a refund and an apology after the release of the Sue Gray report.

Bryn Richards, a university student from Norwich, was charged £1,995 for participating in a gathering outdoors of more than two people in November 2020, during the UK’s second national lockdown.

The 38-year-old claimed he was arrested after interacting with participants of a libertarian, anti-lockdown march while out for a walk in the city, adding he was “caught in the crossfire, between the police and the protesters”.

“If any member of the public did what they did, they’d most assuredly have been fined, without any hesitation by the police,” he told PA.

“I had £2,000 seized from me for doing much less than what they did.

“Quite frankly, I want that money back, and I want a formal apology.”

Calls to publish the full report

The Prime Minister faced a demand from one of his backbenchers to publish the full Sue Gray report immediately.

Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) said: “May I advise him publicly what I have said to emissaries from his campaign team privately: that it is truly in his interest, in the Government’s interest, and in the national interest that he should insist on receiving the full, unredacted report immediately, as I believe he can, and that he should then publish the uncensored version without any further delay?”

Boris Johnson replied: “I think extensive legal advice has been taken on this point and Sue Gray has published everything that she thinks she can that is consistent with that advice.”

Sir Keir Starmer tells MPs that Boris Johnson is “unfit for office"

Sir Keir Starmer told MPs: “By routinely breaking the rules he set, the Prime Minister took us all for fools, he held people’s sacrifice in contempt, he showed himself unfit for office.

“His desperate denials since he was exposed have only made matters worse. Rather than come clean, every step of the way he’s insulted the public’s intelligence.

“And now he’s finally fallen back on his usual excuse: it’s everybody’s fault but his. They go, he stays. Even now he is hiding behind a police investigation into criminality in his home and his office.

“He gleefully treats what should be a mark of shame as a welcome shield. But Prime Minister, the British public aren’t fools, they never believed a word of it, they think the Prime Minister should do the decent thing and resign.

“Of course he won’t because he is a man without shame and just as he has done throughout his life, he’s damaged everyone and everything around him along the way.

“His colleagues have spent weeks defending the indefensible, touring the TV studios parroting his absurd denials, degrading themselves and their offices, fraying the bond of trust between the Government and the public, eroding our democracy and the rule of law.”

Sir Keir Starmer quoted Margaret Thatcher in noting: “The first duty of government is to uphold the law. If it tries to bob and weave and duck around that duty when it is inconvenient, then so will the governed.”

Sir Keir added: “To govern this country is an honour, not a birthright. It’s an act of service to the British people, not the keys to a court to parade to your friends.

“It requires honesty, integrity and moral authority. I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me that this Prime Minister’s lack of integrity is somehow ‘priced in’, that his behaviour and character don’t matter. I have never accepted that and I never will accept that.

“Whatever your politics, whatever party you vote for, honesty and decency matter. Our great democracy depends on it, and cherishing and nurturing British democracy is what it means to be patriotic.”

“Painful day for bereaved families”

Hannah Brady, spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: “The Sue Gray report marks another painful day for bereaved families and reiterates what we already knew: that the Prime Minister and his colleagues broke their own laws regularly and blatantly, whilst families across the country stuck with them even when they suffered terribly as a consequence.

“Even with the heavy redactions in the report, it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than the same one as Sue Gray: that whilst the British public rose to the challenge of making enormous sacrifices to protect their loved ones and their communities, those at 10 Downing Street failed.

“There are now 12 different parties the police are investigating, including one the Prime Minister allegedly attended, one in his private flat and one on his birthday. He has lost all credibility and if he had any decency he would do the right thing and resign.

“Instead, every day this is dragged out longer, the harder it becomes for those of us who couldn’t be with our loved ones in their dying moments.

“The Conservative MPs that are keeping him in power are pouring salt in the wounds of those of us who have already suffered so much. They must act if the Prime Minister himself will not, and are disgracing their country by failing to do so.

“More than ever, this whole sorry episode shows the need for a public statutory inquiry which compels witnesses, including the Prime Minister, to turn up and tell the complete truth.”

Boris Johnson concludes his statement

Concluding his statement on the Sue Gray report, Boris Johnson said: “I get it, and I will fix it. I want to say to the people of this country I know what the issue is.”

Labour MPs should back: “You!”

The Prime Minister continued: “It is whether this Government can be trusted to deliver, and I say ‘yes we can be trusted to deliver’.”

He added: “The reason we are coming out of Covid so fast is at least partly because we doubled the speed of the booster rollout and I can tell the House and this country that we are going to bring the same energy and commitment to getting on with the job to delivering for the British people and to our mission to unite and level up across this country.”

Photo: House of CommonsPhoto: House of Commons
Photo: House of Commons | PA

Boris Johnson says sorry as he addresses MPs

The Prime Minister is making a statement to MPs.

He told the Commons: “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.

“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 shouts of “resign” from Opposition MPs as he said: “We asked people across this country to make the most extraordinary sacrifices – not to meet loved ones, not to visit relatives before they died, and I understand the anger that people feel.

“But it isn’t enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look at ourselves in the mirror and we must learn.

“While the Metropolitan Police must yet complete their investigation, and that means there are no details of specific events in Sue Gray’s report, I of course accept Sue Gray’s general findings in full, and above all her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now.”

Mr Johnson said that “we are making changes now to the way Downing Street and the Cabinet Office run so that we can get on with the job that I was elected to do and the job that this Government was elected to do”.

He added: “First it is time to sort out what Sue Gray rightly calls the fragmented and complicated leadership structures of Downing Street which she says have not evolved sufficiently to meet the demands of the expansion of Number 10 and we will do that, including by creating an Office of the Prime Minister with a permanent secretary to lead Number 10.”

List of lockdown parties across No 10 and Whitehall included in Sue Gray report

Twelve of the lockdown parties included in Sue Gray’s pared-back report into gatherings held across No 10 and Whitehall are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police, the document suggests.

The senior civil servant outlined 16 separate gatherings which were included in the scope of her probe.

Those being investigated by the police include:

– 20 May 2020

A gathering in the garden of No 10 Downing Street for No 10 staff.

– 18 June 2020

A gathering in the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a No 10 private secretary.

– 19 June 2020

A gathering in the Cabinet room in No 10 Downing Street on the Prime Minister’s birthday.

– 13 November 2020

Two gatherings, including one in the No 10 Downing Street flat and another gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser.

– 17 December 2020

Three gatherings, including one in the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall to hold an online Christmas quiz for the Cabinet Secretary’s private office, a second in the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall for the departure of a senior Cabinet Office official and a third in No 10 Downing Street for the departure of a No 10 official.

– 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 private secretaries.

– 16 April 2021

Two gatherings, including one in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a senior No 10 official, and a second in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of another No 10 official.

Four gatherings included the report which are not being investigated by the police include:

– 15 May 2020

A photograph showing a number of groups in the garden of No 10 Downing Street.

– 27 November 2020

A gathering in No 10 Downing Street 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 Downing Street for an online Christmas quiz.

Boris Johnson leaves No 10 to face MPs

Boris Johnson has left No 10 to face MPs after Sue Gray’s partygate inquiry was published.

The Prime Minister had a blank expression and answered no questions before he was driven away.

Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA WirePhoto: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire | PA

Liberal Democrat leader calls for Boris Johnson to resign

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: “Everyone knows Boris Johnson broke the rules and lied to the country.

“It’s time Conservative MPs did their patriotic duty, listened to their constituents and stood up for decency by sacking Boris Johnson.

“He must go before he does our country any more harm.”

Labour’s Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Standards Committee, tweeted: “Behaviour that is difficult to justify. A serious failure to observe high standards. Failures of leadership and judgement.

“Excessive consumption of alcohol in a professional workplace. Gatherings that should not of been able to take place. And that’s just the update!”

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