A critical report on the conduct of British Parliament members during COVID-19 has been released.
Members of No. 10 Downing St. received copies of senior civil servant Sue Gray's report on the breaches of COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, hours before the 37-page document was released to the public. The document details the conduct of several members of Parliament and the Conservative Party at parties hosted on government property during the pandemic.
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"I commissioned this report to set the record straight and allow us all to move on," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell the House of Commons, according to the BBC. "I accept full responsibility for my failings. I am humbled by the whole experience. We have learned our lesson."
Gray's report appears to resemble the interim version the Parliament member released in January, albeit with additional details.
"Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time," Gray wrote in her conclusion. "Even allowing for the extraordinary pressures officials and advisers were under, the factual findings of this report illustrate some attitudes and behaviors inconsistent with that guidance. It is also clear, from the outcome of the police investigation, that a large number of individuals (83) who attended these events breached Covid regulations and therefore Covid guidance."
"Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen," Gray emphasized. "It is also the case that some of the more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. The senior leadership at the center, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture."
Gray also found that several staff members involved in these parties "had witnessed or been subjected to behaviors at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly." She wrote that she was pleased to hear tools were being incorporated to allow said staff to raise their concerns electronically, including with senior officials.
Gray's report arrived a week after London Metropolitan Police Service announced it is ending its investigation into "Partygate." Police issued 126 fines for people attending at least one of eight events that occurred at 10 Downing St. between May 2020 and April 2021 while COVID-19 restrictions were in place, according to police. Of the 83 people fined, 28 face between two and five fines. The fine recipients include 53 men and 73 women.
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Johnson is under heavy scrutiny for his role in these events. The prime minister faces an investigation from Parliament regarding whether he knowingly lied to it about his involvement in the parties. Parliament voted to approve the investigation on April 21 and said it would not begin its investigation until the police finished its own. It will be considered a resigning offense if Johnson is found guilty of deception.
Attention was brought back to Johnson on Tuesday after new photos featuring Johnson giving a toast during the lockdown were released.