Posted at 14:27
Gray report: Failures of leadership in No 10
The initial findings of Sue Gray's report into parties at Downing Street has just dropped, saying there were "failures of leadership and judgment" in No 10 and the Cabinet Office.
We are going through it with a fine-tooth comb to bring you all you need to know, but here are some stand-out lines from the document:
Quote Message: 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
Quote Message: 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
Quote Message: 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
Lockdown parties 'should not have been allowed'
The report is 12 pages long, and makes clear that some of the events in Downing Street over the lockdowns "should not have been allowed to take place", while others "should not have been allowed to develop as they did".
It says the garden of No 10 was "used for gatherings without clear authorisation or oversight - this was not appropriate".
Here are some more of Sue Gray's findings:
Quote Message: The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time
Quote Message: Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so - no member of staff should feel unable to report or challenge poor conduct where they witness it
Quote Message: The leadership structures [in No 10] are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability
Posted at 14:35
Read Sue Gray's conclusion
Sue Gray's final conclusion in full:
"The gatherings within the scope of this investigation are spread over a 20-month period - a period that has been unique in recent times in terms of the complexity and breadth of the demands on public servants and indeed the general public.
"The whole of the country rose to the challenge. Ministers, special advisers and the Civil Service, of which I am proud to be a part, were a key and dedicated part of that national effort.
"However, as I have noted, a number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did.
"There is significant learning to be drawn from these events which must be addressed immediately across government.
"This does not need to wait for the police investigations to be concluded."
I was limited so no meaningful report at present - Gray
In the report, Sue Gray refers to the Met Police's request that she only make "minimal reference" to the events they are investigating.
Because of that, it means she's been extremely limited in what she can say, the report says.
Sue Gray writes:
Quote Message: As a result of the Metropolitan Police’s investigations, and so as not to prejudice the police investigative process, they have told me that it would only be appropriate to make minimal reference to the gatherings on the dates they are investigating.
Quote Message: 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."
Damning conclusions on the culture in Downing Street
At first reading, some of these conclusions are pretty damning of the culture in Downing Street around the time of various lockdown restrictions.
There's a lot of talk of events that shouldn't have taken place or shouldn't have been able to develop in the way they did.
There's talk of failures of leadership, significant things that need to be drawn from these events.
I think Boris Johnson will be under a lot of pressure when he comes to the Commons in just over an hour's time to set out what he thinks those lessons are.
There's a wider question about whether those leadership failures were the prime minister's himself.
I suspect we'll hear opposition politicians over the next few hours say exactly that, that the culture was created by the man at the top.
The thing to really watch out for, though, is exactly how Conservative MPs react to this. We know that many of them have been deeply uncomfortable about the stories they've heard of what went on in Downing Street.
Last edited by Sluffy on Wed Feb 09 2022, 16:44; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Amended title of thread)