Sue Gray’s account of Downing Street parties is so damning Boris Johnson ‘must resign’

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

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

Sue Gray’s account of lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street is so damaging to Boris Johnson that he has no choice but to resign, senior officials are said to believe.

The report, by Sue Gray, a senior official, lists 16 gatherings that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall during the lockdown, and blasted Downing Street’s original defense that there were no parties and that orders were being followed at all times.

The report – which has been suspended until the Metropolitan Police complete their own investigation – is seen as extremely critical of Johnson, both for attending some of the events and for the culture at No10 under his leadership.

A senior official familiar with the content of the report is said to have said so the times that the results are “damning” for Johnson and could mean the end of his time as Prime Minister.

“Sue’s report is appalling. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister,” the official told the newspaper. “She’s under immense pressure – her report could be enough to put an end to it.

Sue Gray’s full report has been shelved until Scotland Yard completes its own investigation


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 out of at least 12 events investigated by police.

One of those, a celebration for his 56th birthday which took place in the cabinet room where he claimed he was “ambushed by cake” has already resulted in a £100 fine.

Police have reportedly started issuing fines for a second event, a bring your own boze party at Downing Street Garden in May 2020.

Sue Gray’s full report aims to criticize the Prime Minister more directly than the interim paper


Phillip Harris)

The event, which was also attended by Johnson and his then-fiancé Carrie Symonds, was organized by his then chief secretary.

It was understood that more than 50 Downing Street staff were present.

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

“It was a real drinking session.”

But at the time the prime minister said he believed it was a working event that had been attended only briefly. He is yet to be fined, No.10 said.

Sue Gray’s interim report was tacitly critical of Johnson, citing a failure of leadership and judgment by people in No 10 and the Cabinet Office – although the full report is said to be more directly critical of the Prime Minister.

But Johnson has insisted he will not step down after confirming he had paid the fine in a statement released earlier this month.

At the time, he also denied lying before, saying he “played by the rules.”

Boris Johnson holds up a cake during a school visit in 2020


10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty)

Conservative Party leader Oliver Dowden claimed there were “strong arguments” for him to stay in No 10 and said Johnson has “a lot 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 May 5 election if further police fines follow poor results for the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Keir Starmer said he would continue to push for Johnson to step down over the parties.

Jacob Rees-Mogg called the Prime Minister a “great man”.


James Beck/Bristol Live)

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

“You must both resign. The Conservatives are utterly incapable of governing. Britain deserves better.”

Brexit Chancellery Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg described the Prime Minister as a “great man”.

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

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

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