UK Leaders Responsible For “Partygate” Culture: Report
Britain’s political leaders and top officials “must bear responsibility” for the culture that led to numerous lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street, said a long-awaited report by a senior civil servant published on Wednesday.
“The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government,” the report, compiled by Sue Gray, said, adding: “Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.
“The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”
The 60-page report by Gray, the top civil servant in the Cabinet Office which supports prime ministers and ensures the effective running of government, follows a months-long probe into the “Partygate” scandal.
A separate police investigation led to police issuing 126 fines to 83 people, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and finance minister Rishi Sunak.
Johnson initially denied any lockdown rules had been broken in Downing Street when the allegations first emerged last year.
He has since apologised for his fine and the various breaches but is refusing to heed calls from his political opponents and others to resign.
In her series of conclusions, Gray found “many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time”.
“I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly,” she concluded.
“I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable.”
The top official, in her 60s, said it was beyond her scope to recommend sanctions but reflected on the implications of the scandal.
“Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of government,” she noted.
“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.”
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