Sue Gray is the senior civil servant looking into allegations of lockdown parties at Downing Street (Pictures: AP/REUTERS)
Following a Met Police investigation into Downing Street events during 2020 and 2021 when lockdown rules, set by the Government, were in place, Ms Gray’s full report has finally been released.
In recent days, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has once again been under fire for his involvement with Partygate – with many calling on the PM to resign from his post.
But just who is Sue Gray, what was she investigating and what does the report say?
Here’s all you need to know.
Who is Sue Gray?
Many have been waiting for Sue’s report into Partygate (Picture: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/REX)
Sue Gray is currently the second permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office, reporting to the UK’s most senior civil servant, Simon Case.
Ms Gray’s past experience includes an investigation of senior government minister Damian Green in 2017, which prompted his resignation.
How to read Sue Gray’s full report into Partygate
The 60-page document came out on Wednesday, May 25. Many were expecting the full report months ago.
Police had previously requested that the report had only ‘minimal reference’ to the events, to ‘avoid any prejudice’ to its own investigation – so only a 12-page summary of Ms Gray’s key findings was made available to the public in January 2022.
Sue Gray’s report has been released in full and can be read on the Government website (Picture: PA)
Boris Johnson is expected to comment on the report in a press conference later today at 3.30pm, following PMQs.
What did Sue Gray’s report say?
Among its 60 pages was a critique of ‘senior leaders’ in Government. More details can be read here.
It found that ‘a number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did.’
‘Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of Government,’ the report added, confessing: ‘What happened fell well short’.
The report also detailed previously unreported behaviour from the gatherings in question.
An official boasting that they had ‘got away with drinks’ in an emailSeveral examples of ‘unacceptable’ treatment of security or cleaning staff occurredA staff member was ‘sick’ following heavy alcohol consumption at an event on June 18, 2020The same event also involved a ‘minor altercation’ between two staff members.
Photographs of the Prime Minister at two gatherings were also in the report.
Several showed him at a Cabinet Room gathering on his birthday (June 19) in 2020, with several sandwiches, drinks cans and pitchers of orange juice laid out on a central table.
Mr Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak (who can be seen in some of the images) and Carrie Johnson all received Fixed Penalty Notice fines from the Met Police relating to this event.
One of the images – taken on June 19, 2020 – shows the PM and Chancellor in the Cabinet Room (Picture: PA)
Previous reports suggest up to 30 people sang the Tory leader happy birthday and presented him with a cake at the event.
Other photographs, taken on November 13, 2020 at a No 10 gathering for the ‘departure of a special adviser’, were also included. Images from this gathering were previously leaked to ITV News.
What was Sue Gray’s report investigating?
Sue Gray’s investigation was an internal one, rather than an independent inquiry.
It was ordered by Mr Johnson, he set the terms of reference and Ms Gray would have reported back to him – with the understanding that she was to remain impartial.
Ms Gray was asked to look at the nature and purpose of the gatherings, including who went to them – ‘with reference to adherence to the guidance in place at the time’.
Boris attended PMQs following publication of the report, and is expected to speak later today (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Note that Ms Gray does not have authority to give out any disciplinary action based on the report.
That would be a matter for the Cabinet Office if it relates to Downing Street staff, or the Prime Minister if it relates to ministers. Mr Johnson could end up referring the findings to Lord Geidt, the Government’s ministerial code adviser, if his own ministerial conduct is questioned.
If this figure is reached and Mr Johnson failed to receive the backing of 181 Tories, a leadership contest would then be announced.
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