SUE Gray’s update on the Downing Street gatherings has claimed some of the behaviour which has taken place is ‘difficult to justify’.
The long-awaited update on the investigation has concluded some of the events ‘should not have been allowed to take place’ and referred to an ‘excessive consumption of alcohol’.
Her report found ‘at least some of the gatherings’ she investigated represented ‘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.’.
“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,” the report said.
“There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”
She has confirmed the Metropolitan Police, which is now also investigating the matter, has confirmed the much pictured Downing Street gathering the garden on May 15, 2020 as well a Christmas event on December 18, 2020 as well as two leaving events in Downing Street in November of that year were not being investigated by police.
A further 12 events are being examined by officers and Mrs Gray including an alleged gathering in the Downing Street flat on the day Dominic Cummings left his role at Number 10.
“At the request of the police I have provided the material compiled in the course of my investigation relevant to the gatherings that they are now investigating,” her report said.
“I have also been asked to retain all the other information collected in the course of this work, which I have confirmed that I will do.
“I will therefore ensure the secure storage and safekeeping of all the information gathered until such time as it may be required further.”
The civil servants has acknowledged the rather cramped nature of Downing Street and said the Prime Minister’s flat and the Downing Street garden are in close proximity to the offices and serve a dual office and private purpose.
However she added: “Those challenges, however, also applied to key and frontline workers across the country who were working under equally, if not more, demanding conditions, often at risk to their own health.”
The Prime Minister will address the House of Commons at 3.30pm