The full report by the senior civil servant Sue Gray into lockdown-breaking parties in and around Downing Street has been published. This is what it says:
Summary of the events
Gray looked into 15 events on 12 dates between May 2020 and April 2021, all of which involved people gathering during Covid lockdowns. Boris Johnson attended eight of these.
Several of the events appeared notably drunken and rowdy. At a leaving do on 18 June 2020 there was karaoke, “excessive alcohol consumption” in which someone was sick and “a minor altercation between two other individuals”, with staff staying beyond 3am. Two leaving events on 14 April 2021, which merged in the No 10 garden, involved drunkenness and people leaving after 4am. At a Christmas party in December 2020 red wine was spilled on a wall and on stationery supplies.
Emails and messages uncovered by Gray found regular pre-planning of socialising, but also some officials trying to warn that the events were a bad idea.
As well as Johnson, a handful of senior officials are named, among them Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, and Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s former principal private secretary.
The report runs to 60 pages and features eight photos from two events – Johnson’s birthday gathering in June 2020 and a leaving event in November that year.
Gray opted to not investigate claims of a party inside Johnson’s Downing Street flat on 13 November 2020. While Gray confirms this involved food and alcohol, she “concluded it was not appropriate or proportionate” to look into it – a decision likely to be controversial.
Gray’s overall findings
Whatever “the initial intent”, many of the gatherings breached Covid rules, and whatever the pressures of the time, this should not have happened.
There were “failures of leadership and judgment in No 10 and the Cabinet Office”. Gray wrote: “The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government. Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.”
Security and junior staff were often treated in an “unacceptable” way, Gray found: “I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff.”
Her overall conclusion: “Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of government. The public have a right to expect the very highest standards of behaviour in such places and clearly what happened fell well short of this.”
The events uncovered
15 May 2020: cheese and wine in the No 10 garden
As pictured in the Guardian. Johnson, his wife Carrie, his then aide Dominic Cummings, Reynolds and the then health secretary, Matt Hancock, all attended, with wine and cheese laid out, but Gray concluded this involved gatherings for work.
20 May 2020: ‘bring your own booze’ No 10 garden event
The report relates lengthy messages in which Reynolds planned the event and invited staff, but also ones in which Lee Cain, then Johnson’s communication chief, called the idea of the mass gathering “somewhat of a comms risk in the current environment”. In the end, 30 to 40 people attended, including Johnson for about 30 minutes.
18 June 2020: leaving event in Cabinet Office for a No 10 private secretary
Also organised by Reynolds, messages obtained by Gray show Cain again warning it appeared a bad idea. After the formal event with speeches attended by more than 25 people, No 10 officials, among them Reynolds, drank prosecco and ate pizza, and used a karaoke machine. This was the event that included someone being sick and the altercation. The last person to leave did so at 3.13am.
19 June 2020: Johnson’s birthday
This was the brief party for Johnson in the Cabinet room for which he, his wife Carrie and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, were fined. It lasted about 20 minutes, Gray found, and Johnson was present throughout. This is the only event for which the prime minister received a fine.
13 November 2020: Lee Cain leaving party
One of the two events for which photos are appended – the same ones leaked to ITV News on Monday. Johnson was among those who attended, and drank, and also gave a speech.
27 November 2020: leaving party for a special adviser
Gray does not name the adviser, but this was Cleo Watson. About 15 to 20 people attended, some drinking. Johnson was there briefly, and said some words.
10 December 2020: Department for Education drinks
Organised by the then education secretary, Gavin Williamson, and attended by about 20 to 30 staff. Lasting about an hour, alcohol was served.
15 December 2020: No 10 Christmas quiz
This was mainly online, though some were there in person, among them Johnson. Comprising a quiz and prize-giving, it lasted approximately three and a half hours.
17 December 202: online quiz in Simon Case’s office
Mainly virtual, with some staff taking part in person. It involved alcohol and food and lasted about 90 minutes.
17 December 2020: leaving party for two No 10 officials
Alcohol was drunk, Johnson spoke and attended briefly. A small number of staff stayed drinking until about 1am.
17 December 2020: leaving party in Cabinet Office
This was for Kate Josephs, the outgoing head of the Covid taskforce. It was meant to be socially distanced, but this did not happen. Alcohol was drunk and pizzas ordered, and some staff moved into No 10 to join the leaving party taking place on the same evening.
18 December 2020: No 10 Christmas event
Billed as a “wine time Friday” event, this was pre-planned and involved a mock awards ceremony and secret Santa gift exchange. At one point an alarm was accidentally triggered and security staff “observed a large number of people in the area”. Some people drank to excess and wine was spilled on a wall and on “a number of boxes of photocopier paper”.
14 January 2021: leaving event for two No 10 officials
Alcohol was drunk, with Johnson attending briefly to give a leaving speech.
16 April 2021: two leaving parties that merged
One was for James Slack, Johnson’s head of communications, and the other for a “private office official”, believed to be one of Johnson’s personal photographers. The latter event, held in the No 10 basement, was especially rowdy, with music played and a number of people drinking excessively. The two parties later merged in the No 10 garden. Gray notes the last person to leave did so at 4.20am.