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Sue Gray’s Downing Street parties report is so damning Boris Johnson ‘will have to quit’


A senior official familiar with the contents of the report said the findings are “damning” for Johnson and could spell the end of his time as prime minister

The Prime Minister flanked by three members of staff, one wearing tinsel and another a Santa hat, at a Downing Street Christmas event on December 15, 2020
The Prime Minister flanked by three members of staff, one wearing tinsel and another a Santa hat, at a Downing Street Christmas event on December 15, 2020

Sue Gray ’s report into lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street is so damaging to Boris Johnson it could leave him with no choice but to resign, senior officials are reported to believe.

The report by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, lists 16 gatherings which took place in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown, blowing apart Downing Street’s original defence that there were no parties and the guidance was followed at all times.

The report – which has been put on hold until the Metropolitan Police force completes its own investigations – is understood to be highly critical of Johnson, both for attending some of the events and the culture in No 10 under his leadership.

A senior official familiar with the contents of the report has reportedly told the Times that the findings are “damning” for Johnson and could spell the end of his time as prime minister.

“Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the prime minister,” the official told the paper. “There’s an immense amount of pressure on her — her report could be enough to end him.







Sue Gray’s full report has been put on hold until Scotland Yard completes its own investigations
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Image:

PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

“No official has ever been in a position like this before.”

The prime minister is understood to have been present at six of at least 12 events being investigated by police.

One of these, a celebration for his 56th birthday held in the Cabinet Room where he claimed he was “ambushed by cake”, has already resulted in Johnson being fined £100.

Police have reportedly begun issuing fines for a second event, a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street Garden in May 2020.







Sue Gray’s full report is said to be more directly critical of the prime minister than the interim paper
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Image:

Phil Harris)

The event, which was also attended by Johnson and his then-fiancée Carrie Symonds, was organised by his principal secretary at the time.

More than 50 Downing Street staff were understood to have been in attendance.

A witness said: “There were 40 people in the garden, including Boris and Carrie. There were long tables laden with drink, crisps, sausage rolls and other picnic food.

“It was a proper booze-up.”

But at the time, the prime minister said he believed it was a work event and had been attended only briefly. He has yet to be issued with a fine, No 10 has said.

Sue Gray’s interim report tacitly criticised Johnson, referring to failures of leadership and judgement by those in No 10 and the Cabinet Office – though the full report is said to be more directly critical of the prime minister.

But Johnson has insisted he will not resign, after he confirmed he had paid the fine in a statement issued earlier this month.

At the time, he also denied he had previously lied by saying he had ‘followed the rules’.







Boris Johnson holds a cake during a school visit in 2020
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10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty)

Oliver Dowden, chairman of the Conservative Party, claimed there was a “strong case” for him staying in No 10 and said Johnson had “plenty more fuel in the tank”.

The prime minister is due to make a series of visits this week as part of the Conservative Party’s local election campaign.

Some Tory MPs believe Johnson will face a confidence vote shortly after the elections on May 5, if further fines issued by the police were followed by bad results for the PM.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer said he would keep pressing for Johnson to resign over the parties.







Jacob Rees-Mogg described the prime minister as a ‘great man’
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James Beck/BristolLive)

Mr Starmer said: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public.

“They must both resign. The Conservatives are totally unfit to govern. Britain deserves better.”

Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg described the prime minister as a “great man”.

“I don’t think people are losing faith in him,” he insisted.

“The socialists don’t like him, of course they don’t, that’s their job,” he told GB News.

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