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Sue Gray report – live: Boris Johnson defies calls to quit over raucous No 10 drinking parties



‘I overwhelmingly feel it is my job to get on and deliver’, says Johnson after Gray report

Boris Johnson has said he “overwhelmingly” believes he should remain in office despite public anger at the “bitter and painful” conclusions of Sue Gray’s damning inquiry into raucous No 10 parties during lockdown.

The Prime Minister issued a televised apology over the Partygate scandal in an address to the nation after the report attacked “a serious failure” to abide by the “standards expected of the entire British population” during the pandemic.

He is facing calls from his own side to step down after the long-awaited inquiry findings revealed raucous parties in No 10 where staff sang karaoke, dozens of people attended a drunken party at which red wine was spilled on a wall and that “winetime Fridays” were regular events.

One individual was sick due to “excessive alcohol consumption”, partygoers were rude to cleaning and security staff, and there was a “minor altercation” between two other partygoers.

Former minister Tobias Ellwood warned the Conservatives were on course to lose the next general election, questioning whether fellow Tory MPs could still defend Mr Johnson’s behaviour over lockdown-busting events, including having initially denied parties took place.

“There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times,” Ms Gray writes.

The report said the senior leadership in No 10 must “bear responsibility” for the culture that led to lockdown rules being broken.

The prime minister said he took “full responsibility” for the law-breaking events, which he bitterly regretted.

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Second Tory backbencher calls for PM to quit after report’s publication

Another Conservative MP has called for Mr Johnson to resign.

Julian Study, MP for York Outer, said he was unable to give the prime minister the benefit of the doubt, having waited for the outcomes of both the police and Sue Gray reports.

Discussions about the parties were a damaging distraction, he said in a statement.

Earlier, former minister Tobias Ellwood called for the PM to stand down, warning Mr Johnson was risking the Conservatives losing the next election.

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 17:28

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Archbishop says we must rediscover standards in public life

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said “we need to rediscover” good standards in public life, following publication of Sue Gray’s report.

The archbishop said: “Sue Gray’s report shows that culture, behaviour and standards in public life really matter.

“We need to be able to trust our national institutions, particularly in times of great trouble.

“Jesus commands us to serve the most vulnerable and those in need. To help achieve this, we must recover the principles of mutual flourishing and the common good in the way we are governed.

“Standards in public life are the glue that holds us together – we need to rediscover them and abide by them.”

Last month, the PM took a swipe at the Archbishop over his intervention in a row over sending migrants to Rwanda.

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 17:24

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Tory backbenchers greet PM at 1922 meeting

Boris Johnson was met by the customary banging of tables as he arrived at a meeting of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservatives in Parliament.

The prime minister is hoping to shore up support for his position and quell any rebellion.

he is addressing MPs in the same room as the result of Theresa May’s confidence vote was announced – when she was forced to stand down in favour of Mr Johnson.

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 17:19

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I overwhelmingly feel I must not quit, insists PM

Boris Johnson said he “overwhelmingly” believed he should remain in office despite public anger at the “bitter and painful” conclusions of Sue Gray’s inquiry.

The Prime Minister recognised people were “indignant” over the damning findings but defied fresh calls to resign.

He said he took “full responsibility” but sought to play down his personal involvement.

Mr Johnson told the Downing Street press conference: “I understand why people are indignant and why people have been angry at what took place.”

But pressed whether he ever considered resigning, he responded: “I overwhelmingly feel it is my job to get on and deliver.”

A snap poll from YouGov after Ms Gray’s report was published suggested 60 per cent of voters wanted Mr Johnson to resign.

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 16:53

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‘We seem to have got away with’ BYOB party, top aide boasted

One of Boris Johnson’s former senior aides boasted “we seem to have got away with” the infamous bring your own booze garden party, Sue Gray’s report says.

According to the investigation, Martin Reynolds, the prime minister’s former principle private secretary, was also warned by a No 10 official the event was “somewhat of a comms risk”. Ashley Cowburn reports:

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 16:41

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Rishi Sunak ‘paid £10,000’ for private helicopter trip to Tory dinner

Rishi Sunak has been branded “out of touch” after reportedly paying more than £10,000 to fly by private helicopter to a Tory dinner in Wales, writes Chiara Giordano:

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 16:34

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Police probe limited Abba party investigation – but PM denies intervening

Sue Gray’s investigation into an “Abba party” in the prime minister’s private Downing Street flat was “limited” by the Metropolitan Police probe.

Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Symonds and special advisers met on 13 November 2020, following the announcement of the departure of Dominic Cummings – but none received Covid fines over the event.

The party became notorious after press reports that Abba songs, including The Winner Takes It All, were heard booming through the building.

Sue Gray said in her report she had decided not to pursue an investigation into the event despite finding that alcohol was present on the evening Dominic Cummings was forced out of Downing Street.

The Prime Minister, asked at a press briefing whether his political staff had requested the removal of any facts before the document’s release, said: “The first I saw the report and read it in its entirety – and, to the best of my knowledge, the first any of my team saw it – was when we got it shortly after 10am this morning.”

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 16:31

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PM ‘personally apologised to cleaners and security staff’

The Prime Minister said he had personally apologised to No 10 cleaners and security staff who were subjected to “disrespectful and poor treatment” highlighted in Sue Gray’s report.

Mr Johnson told the news conference: “I was appalled to learn that there have been multiple examples in Sue Gray’s phrase of disrespectful land and poor treatment of cleaning and security personnel.

“I personally apologised to those dedicated members of staff for what happened and I expect anyone who behaved in that way to do the same.”

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 15:52

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PM avoids question of pressuring Sue Gray

Mr Johnson swerved the question of whether he tried to pressure Sue Gray not to publish her report.

Shaking his head, he said: “The terms of reference make it absolutely clear that Sue has to publish a report and I think it’s entirely right that she has, and I think that the… I don’t think anybody could reasonably say that reading that report that an awful lot has been swept under the carpet.”

He also avoided questions of what his personal failings were, but added that he bitterly regretted what had happened.

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 15:50

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I bitterly regret what happened but take responsibility, says PM

The Prime Minister said he “accepts responsibility for the totality of what happened” during the Partygate scandal and that he “bitterly regrets it”.

Asked about what his own personal failings were, he told a press conference in Downing Street: “The best thing I can invite you to do is look very carefully at what Sue [Gray] has said, and if you read her report and you look at the the detail in which she describes my own participation in the events, what I did, how long I was there, and I think you get a pretty fair picture of what took place.

“That does not mean that I don’t accept responsibility for the totality of what happened. And, yes, I bitterly regret it.

“That’s why we’ve taken steps since the interim report, in particular, to drive a lot of change in No 10 and the way No 10 works, and to ensure that there are much clearer lines of command and everybody understands the difference between being engaged in work and in socialising. I think that is the crucial thing.”

Asked whether he had thought about quitting, he said he felt it was his job to carry on in his position.

“I overwhelmingly feel it is my job to get on and deliver,” he said.

“No matter how bitter and painful that the conclusions of this may be – and they are – and no matter how humbling they are, I have got to keep forward and the Government has got to keep moving. And we are.”

Jane Dalton25 May 2022 15:44



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