Sue Gray’s much-anticipated report gave a shocking insight into what was happening at Number 10 and the Cabinet Office during the Covid-19 lockdown
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Boris Johnson arrived in the House of Commons yesterday with a suitcase full of apologies for the behavior revealed in Sue Gray’s report.
The Prime Minister told MPs he was “reassured” by the results.
But does his defense for what happened under his watch stand up to scrutiny?
Here’s what he said and what the reality is.
Andrew Parsons / No. 10 Downing Street)
“Gatherings on eight dates breached Covid regulations”
What Boris Johnson said:
“It is important to note that over a period of approximately 600 days, gatherings on a total of eight dates in a building measuring 5,300 square meters over five floors, excluding apartments, were found to be in violation of the regulations. where hundreds of staff are authorized to work, and the Cabinet Office, which has thousands of officials and is now the largest ever in its 100-year history.”
What is the truth?
Johnson deliberately tries to downplay the scale of the offences.
What he didn’t mention was that the Metropolitan Police issued 126 fines for breaking the law, making the No. 10 address the most frequently fined address in the country.
In her report, Sue Gray states that Staff No. 10 worked “for many hours in difficult conditions.”
But then adds: “However, these challenges also applied to key and front-line workers across the country, who worked in equally, if not more, demanding conditions, often at risk to their own health.”
The Prime Minister attended eight out of 16 lockdown gatherings
What Boris Johnson said
There were “circumstances when officials and advisers left the government and it was appropriate to recognize them and thank them for a job well done.
“I have attended such gatherings briefly to thank them for their service, which I believe is one of the essential responsibilities of leadership and especially important when people need to feel their contributions have been appreciated and to keep morale as high as possible to keep.”
He later added, “When people work very hard together day in and day out, it can be difficult to draw a line between work and socializing.”
What is the truth
The Gray report reveals the Prime Minister has attended eight of the 16 lockdown gatherings, including one where he brought cheese and wine from his flat.
Johnson is trying to absolve himself of responsibility for party culture at No. 10 by claiming there have been special “exceptions” for No. 10 during the pandemic.
But most other workplaces followed Covid guidelines and were perfectly able to distinguish between work and socializing.
“I thought I would attend work events”
What he said
“I am pleased to say now that when I said – I came into this House and said in all sincerity – that the rules and guidelines were followed at all times, that was what I believed to be true.
“It was certainly the case when I was present at meetings to bid farewell to staff and the House will note that my presence at those moments – brief as it was – was not found to be outside the rules.”
He added, “I believed I would attend work events.”
What is the truth
The Prime Minister is trying to quash serious allegations that he has repeatedly misled Parliament by claiming that there were “no parties” and that “guidelines were followed at all times”.
That includes denying he knew about the farewell party, where he was pictured raising a glass toast a colleague. Although he wasn’t fined, other participants in the gathering were, so it’s hard to argue that the rules were followed at all times.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/what-boris-johnson-said-suitcase-27064624 What Boris Johnson said in the suitcase of Partygate excuses - and the truth