UK Probe on Downing Street COVID-19 Lockdown Parties Finds ‘Failures of Leadership’

An investigation in the United Kingdom found “failure of leadership” over parties that took place at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office and residence during a strict COVID-19 lockdown.

Published on the government’s website on Jan. 31, the initial findings of a 12-page redacted report by senior civil servant Sue Gray found that Downing Street and the Cabinet Office had “failures of leadership and judgment” for 16 gatherings on 12 dates across 20 months in 2020 to 2021.

“At least some of the gatherings in question represent 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,” Gray wrote in the report.

“Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did,” Gray further wrote.

The report also found that “excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time,” calling for the government to ensure “a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace.”

The report further found that the garden at the No. 10 Downing Street was used for gatherings “without clear authorization or oversight,” which it called “not appropriate.”

Some staff also felt unable to raise concerns about behaviors they witnessed at work, the report said.

Following the report, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that it is investigating eight of the 12 dates, including over 300 photos and over 500 pages of information from the Cabinet Office.

Johnson apologized in the House of Commons and pledged to make changes in accordance with the initial findings amid calls for his resignation.


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