Boris Johnson ‘sorry’ as ‘Partygate’ reports on drunken parties

Boris Johnson issued a half-hearted apology after a much-anticipated report was published in partygate on Wednesday detailing breaking COVID-19 rules and binge drinking.

The so-called “Partygate” scandal refers to the 16 illegal social gatherings attended by Johnson and his Conservative Party during lockdown, when the same government introduced social distancing measures.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray, who oversees ethics investigations for the UK government, investigated social gatherings taking place during a 20-month lockdown period in England.

It released the lengthy report on Wednesday, which included some bomb finds from alcohol-fueled parties.

“In the context of the pandemic, when the government has asked citizens to accept sweeping restrictions on their lives, some of the behavior surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify,” Gray says in the report.

A protester holds a sign calling for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign on May 25, 2022 in London, England.
A protester holds a sign calling for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign on May 25, 2022 in London, England.
Justin Ng / Avalon

“At least some of the assemblies in question represent a serious failure to live up not only to the high standards expected of those who work at the heart of government, but also to the standards that were expected of the British public at large at that time.”

“I’m humble and I’ve learned a lesson.”

Boris Johnson

Speaking out after the report’s findings raised eyebrows, Johnson told Members of Parliament in a statement in the House of Commons: “I am humbled and I’ve learned a lesson,” and said he will not resign.

“Whatever the mistakes of … No. 10 and the Cabinet Office during this difficult time and my own, I continue to believe that the officials and advisers in question are … good, hard-working people, motivated by the highest calling, the Doing the very best for our country,” Johnson said.

At a media conference, Johnson pointed to the “biggest war in Europe in 70 years” and a “huge increase in the cost of living,” saying, “My job is to move forward and serve the people of this country.”

Johnson also insisted they only broke lockdown rules after he left, saying he considered it “work events”.

“I was not aware of these subsequent procedures because I just wasn’t there,” he said. “I think the overwhelming will of this country is that now we say thank you to Sue Gray and move on together.”

Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said Johnson should quit and the report showed the government believed there was one rule for her and another for everyone else.

“The door of 10 Downing Street is one of the great symbols of British democracy,” he said tweeted On Wednesday. “A democracy based on the principles of honesty and integrity. Its current occupant has failed to uphold these principles. Boris Johnson has to go.”

For each of the 16 events, the report includes attendees, how long each guest was at the event, where it took place and what restrictions were in place. The report also noted whether any concerns were raised at the event and whether alcohol was consumed.

“Excessive alcohol consumption is never appropriate in a professional workplace,” Gray says in the report.

“Steps must be taken to ensure that every government agency has a clear and robust policy covering alcohol consumption in the workplace.”

According to the report, Johnson’s former private secretary, Martin Reynolds, was urged to end the “BYOB [Bring Your Own Booze] Party” organized in garden no. 10.

The report revealed a message from Reynolds to another employee stating, “We appear to have gotten away with the BYOB event.”

“Excessive consumption of alcohol is never appropriate in a professional workplace.”

Sue Grey

The report details the WhatsApp messages sent to Press Office staff on November 27, 2020, which read: “Hey team – would you like to join the Press Office’s Secret Santa?” and “We will be exchanging gifts on December 18 and cheese and make (a lot of) wine.”

Gray notes that “some employees have responded positively” and “some employees have been drinking to excess.”

In her report, Gray tells the government that every department must have a “clear and robust policy” on alcohol consumption in the workplace.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street after a news conference on the Sue Gray report May 25, 2022 in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street after a news conference on the Sue Gray report May 25, 2022 in London.
Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images/Sipa

She highlighted “several examples of disrespect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff” and said it was “unacceptable”.

After the hilarious Christmas party on Dec. 18, the report said, “a cleaner who visited the room the next morning noticed that red wine had been spilled on a wall and on a row of boxes of copy paper.”

Gray also noted that some parties have ended in vomiting due to excessive drinking, notably at a June 18, 2020 gathering where some people got “sick” while two others got involved in a “little argument.”

With postal wires Boris Johnson ‘sorry’ as ‘Partygate’ reports on drunken parties


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