UK’s Johnson apologizes again over lockdown parties as Sue Gray publishes report

Opposition calls on British prime minister to resign over COVID-19 lockdown parties.

UK’s Johnson apologizes again over lockdown parties as Sue Gray publishes report

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized over the parties that took place during the COVID-19 lockdown at Downing Street, after a report by a senior civil servant revealed more details about the gatherings.

“I am humbled and I have learnt a lesson,” Johnson said, adding that he took the full responsibility for the parties despite he was not aware of many of them, adding that he was “appalled” by some of the findings of the report.

Johnson’s remarks came in response to the report. He said that he thinks it is now time to move on.

Many of parties “was not in line with Covid guidance at the time,” a report by Sue Gray published on Thursday said.

The long-awaited report said that the "senior leadership" in Downing Street must "bear responsibility" for the partying culture at the government offices.

"I have already commented in my update on what I found to be failures of leadership and judgment in No 10 and the Cabinet Office,” Gray wrote.

“The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.”

Johnson have been under fire due to the parties at a time when the public members were not allowed to meet or visit their family members while at hospital with COVID-19. The affair has been named as partygate.

‘Unacceptable’ behavior

Gray’s report said: "It is also the case that some of the more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture."

She added that during her investigation she was made aware of "multiple examples" of "unacceptable" behavior involving security and cleaning staff at No. 10.

"I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly.”

"I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable," she added.

Gray underlined that “the matter of what disciplinary action should now take place is outside of the scope of this report and is for others to consider.”

“Nothing set out in this report can be taken as constituting a disciplinary investigation or findings of fact appropriate for such a purpose.”

She added: "However, I do offer a reflection: while there is no excuse for some of the behaviour set out here it is important to acknowledge that those in the most junior positions attended gatherings at which their seniors were present, or indeed organised.

“I have no doubt that they will have taken the learning from this experience and, while this is not a matter for me, I hope this will be taken into account in considering any disciplinary action."

"It is my firm belief, however, that these events did not reflect the prevailing culture in Government and the Civil Service at the time,” Gray said.

"Many thousands of people up and down the country worked tirelessly to deliver in unprecedented times. I remain immensely proud to be a civil servant and of the work of the service and the wider public sector during the pandemic."

Some 126 fixed penalty notices were issued to 83 people after an investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

Reaction

In response to Johnson’s statement, Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition, said the revelations by the Gray report is a “monument to the hubris and the arrogance of a government that believed it was one rule for them, and another rule for everyone else.”

“This prime minister is steering the country in the wrong direction,” he added.

Starmer said the Tory MPs should stop him driving the country “to disaster.”

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party leader at Westminster, repeated his call for Johnson to resign.

Blackford said Johnson must bear the full responsibility over the culture at the Downing Street. “A fish rots from the head,” he said.

He said credibility, truth and morality all matter but Johnson is “lacking” all.

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