Jan 31, 2022 - World

Probe into Boris Johnson's lockdown parties finds "failures of leadership"

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on Jan. 31. Photo: House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images

The lockdown-defying parties at U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street residence represented a "serious failure" to observe the standards expected of government officials, according to the long-awaited initial findings of an investigation out Monday.

The big picture: "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," the report states.

  • "There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times," it adds, noting that some of the gatherings should not have been allowed to occur at all, while others shouldn't have been permitted to develop as they did.
  • The report also makes note of the excessive alcohol consumption at the gatherings, which, it adds, "is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time."

State of play: The report was published by senior civil servant Sue Gray. The full findings were not published because of an ongoing police investigation into more serious allegations related to the gatherings, per the BBC.

  • The report details findings from 12 dates in 2020 and 2021, but little detail is provided about them because of the police probe.
  • Johnson apologized for the gatherings on Monday during an appearance at the House of Commons: “I get it and I will fix it,” Johnson said.

Worth noting: On Monday, Scotland Yard announced that they had acquired more than 300 photos as part of their investigation into "partygate."

Background: Earlier this month Johnson apologized for the lockdown-breaking gatherings, saying, "I want to apologize. I know millions of people have made extraordinary sacrifices. I know the anguish they have been through. I know the rage they feel."

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