Sue Gray’s initial report findings into government Covid lockdown breaches has been published.
The report is just 12 pages long after the Met Police launched a criminal investigation into 12 of the 16 gatherings under the microscope.
In the report Ms Gray found that behaviour surrounding some of the gatherings is difficult to justify and showed a failure of leadership.
It has led to widespread calls for Boris Johnson’s resignation but the prime minister is standing firm, vowing to fix the problems highlighted in the report.
Mr Johnson apologised and has previously admitted to attending one of the lockdown parties in question, held in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020.
But will he go?
Here is everything you need to know.
What has Boris Johnson said?
Johnson has apologised for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of No 10 during England’s first lockdown.
The Prime Minister insisted he believed it had been a “work event” and Downing Street said he had never been sent an email encouraging staff to bring a bottle and “make the most of the lovely weather”.
In the Commons, Johnson said that he attended the 20 May 2020 gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff”, but “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside”.
The Prime Minister acknowledged public anger, saying: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.”
He said an inquiry was examining the situation but accepted “there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility”.
Downing Street refused to say whether his then fiancee Carrie Symonds had attended the gathering, if Johnson had noticed tables laden with food and drink or if he had brought a bottle of his own into the garden.
All such questions were a matter for senior official Sue Gray’s inquiry, the Prime Minister’s press secretary told reporters.
They insisted Johnson had not been sent the invitation email from his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds encouraging colleagues to “bring your own booze” to the garden.
Will Boris Johnson resign?
As has been proven multiple times in the last 24 months, Johnson’s ability to weather the storm of criticism and remain Prime Minister is enviable.
It is often left to those beneath him to take the hit. For instance, Allegra Stratton, a former advisor who resigned as Johnson’s spokeswoman and senior aide in a teary apology speech outside her North London home.
In footage leaked from December 2020, Stratton had been seen joking with colleagues about a party which took place inside No 10 in what appeared to be a rehearsal for a televised Covid-19 media briefing.
Despite the anger surrounding the issue of Johnson’s attendance at the party, a number of high-ranking Conservatives still support the Prime Minister.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Prime Minister was “right to apologise”, and said he supports Boris Johnson’s “request for patience” as Sue Gray conducts her investigation.
Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg defended the Prime Minister and dismissed opinion polls suggesting Boris Johnson should resign, saying Tory MPs who have called for the PM to go were “people who are always unhappy”.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said Boris Johnson had given a “very clear account” of the events of 20 May 2020.
“I’m fully supportive of this Prime Minister and I’m sure he will continue for many years to come,” he told the BBC.
What have MPs said?
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said as the Prime Minister had now accepted he was at the event in the Downing Street garden, he felt Boris Johnson could no longer continue in the position.
Asked if he thought the PM should resign, Ross told STV News: “I made that clear. If the Prime Minister was there, and he accepted today that he was, then I felt he could not continue.”
Tory MP Neil Hudson said the Prime Minister’s apology was an “important step forward” but “I will not defend the indefensible” and there should be “serious consequences” if rules were broken.
William Wragg, the vice-chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs, suggested Boris Johnson should take the decision to resign himself.
He told BBC Radio 4’s PM that it was “a tragedy things have come to pass in this way”, and he said: “Unfortunately, I wasn’t reassured. I fear this is simply going to be a continuing distraction to the good governance of the country.”
He said it would be “preferable” for Mr Johnson to offer his resignation himself as MPs were “tired” and “frankly worn out of defending what is invariably indefensible”.
How do the public feel?
Tory voters have also called for the Prime Minister’s resignation.
Many have said they will not vote for the party if Boris Johnson stays in charge, with one Twitter user saying the Prime Minister is “finished”.
Posting on Twitter, John Coleman said he may vote Labour in the next election: “I speak as a Conservative voter and former party member… this government needs to fall and it needs to fall now!! Amoral leadership #JohnsonOutNow.”
Mary Gater, a lifelong Tory voter whose father’s funeral in February 2021 had limited attendance due to Covid restrictions, told the PA news agency she will seriously consider voting differently in a future election if the Prime Minister is still in charge.
“He has acknowledged he did wrong, but it is difficult to reconcile his responses because the damage is now done,” she said. “I doubt he does understand the sacrifices and quite frankly the horrors some of us have endured.”
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