Thursday 26 May 2022

"Partygate" ~ Report by civil servant Sue Gray + Addendum 7 June

I previously wrote about so-called "partygate" and added some updates to that post - post of 13 February 2022

At the time, the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) appeared to be "on the ropes" as he took something of a political battering over what was clearly a culture of social gatherings and drinking at No 10 Downing Street when the coronavirus pandemic was at its height.

It was a time when the nation was expected to adhere to regulations, made by Ministers, intended to limit the spread of coronavirus. It was an appalling episode in our political life and

revealed a culture within government of politicians and officials considering themselves to be above the law.

All of that is revealed fully in a report, issued on 25 May 2022, by the Second Permament Secretary - Sue Gray. The report may be read via the government's website

A statement to the House of Commons was followed by a short debate - Sue Gray Report - Hansard - 25 May 2022 - UK Parliament. In his statement, the Prime Minister said - "I also want to say, above all, that I take full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch ..."

It is a meaningless statement unless followed by action. Taking full responsibility ought to entail Johnson's resignation. 

Bolstered by a large Commons majority and, at least in my opinion, saved by the Ukraine crisis, Johnson has no doubt calculated that, with his usual bluff and obfuscation, he has "got away with it" and need not actually "take full responsibility" at all.

As the Leader of the Opposition (Sir Keir Starmer) noted - "The door of No. 10 Downing Street is one of the great symbols of our democracy. Those who live behind it exercise great power, but they do so knowing that their stay is temporary. Long after they have gone, that door and the democracy it represents will remain firm and unyielding. But Britain’s constitution is fragile. It relies on Members of this House and the custodians of No. 10 behaving responsibly, honestly and in the interests of the British people"

Ultimately, it will come to the electorate to decide whether Johnson and his government are fit to be permitted to continue to hold power in the UK. I have my view and you will have yours. 

26 May 2022

Vomiting and partying until 4am: Sue Gray delivers damning verdict on Boris Johnson’s No 10 | Gray report | The Guardian

Sue Gray Report - Hansard - UK Parliament

Addendum 7 June 2022:

On 6 June, Conservative MPs (1922 committee) held a confidence ballot in their party leader - Boris Johnson. Mathematically, Johnson won but the actual figures appear to tell a story of a Prime Minister who is severely in trouble with around 40% of his MPs. There is also little doubt that some MPs will have voted to support Johnson because they do not want a general election called  at the present time.

Boris Johnson won the confidence vote but in every other way he is the big loser | Martin Kettle | The Guardian

and more of the political reaction at ....

Addendum 9 July 2022:

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner cleared by Durham police of breaking lockdown rules | Keir Starmer | The Guardian

and see Durham Police -Statement which, for reasons set out in the statement, does not name Starmer or Rayner.

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