Tag Archives: Gray

Can Johnson really claim he didn’t know Downing Street parties he attended were illegal?

Boozy Johnson: this is not an image of him at the Downing Street garden party on May 20, 2020 (it was actually taken in 2019) but it serves to suggest his behaviour there quite adequately.

The easy answer to the question in the headline is: no, he should have known his parties broke the law.

I say “his” parties because they were parties at 10 Downing Street, his home and place of work, taking place directly under his nose and that he attended in many instances. They were part of a “party culture” created during his watch.

And I say he should have known they broke the law because he announced to all of us what the law was – and it didn’t allow for social gatherings in a work setting, by the way. Furthermore, evidence in the Sue Gray report shows that his aides certainly did know that these events were legally questionable because they took steps to prevent the press from finding out about them.

Let’s discuss the party in the Downing Street garden on the evening of May 20, 2020 when Covid-19 regulations stated that “participating in a gathering of more than two persons in public was prohibited except where the gathering was ‘essential for work purposes'”, but had been amended to allow “meetings outdoors for exercise or recreation with one person from another household”.

Clearly an after-hours drinks event in the garden of 10 Downing Street, with more than 200 people invited to socialise with each other – even if socially-distanced – would have been a flagrant breach of these regulations.

It would have been a gathering of more than two persons in public that was not essential for work purposes, and it would have been a meeting outdoors between multiple people from more than one other household.

This did not stop Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, from advertising it by email, while other officials requested that tables be put out by the “Internal Events” team – which This Writer would have thought clearly marks this out as an illegal social occasion.

Alcohol was available at the event – both supplied by officials and also via a request for attendees to “Bring your own booze!”

In total, around 200 staff were invited although it is believed attendance was around 40 – still a massive breach of the regulations at the time.

Here’s the punchline: those arranging the event – including Reynolds – knew it was against the rules because they went to lengths to hide it from members of the media who attended a press conference just before it was due to take place.

According to the Gray Report, a Number 10 special advisor sent this message to Reynolds:

Just to flag that the press conference will probably be finishing around that time, so helpful if people can be mindful of that as speakers and cameras are leaving, not walking around waving bottles of wine etc”.

Martin Reynolds replied:

“Will do my best!….”

The report continues:

A No 10 Director declined the invitation and told the investigation that they had raised with either Martin Reynolds or his office that it was not a good idea.

Lee Cain, the then No 10 Director of Communications (a special adviser), also
received the invitation. In response, he emailed Martin Reynolds, No 10 official (1),
and Dominic Cummings at 14.35 on 20 May 2020 stating: “I’m sure it will be fine –
and I applaud the gesture – but a 200 odd person invitation for drinks in the garden
of no 10 is somewhat of a comms risk in the current environment.” Lee Cain says
he subsequently spoke to Martin Reynolds and advised him that the event should
be cancelled. Martin Reynolds does not recall any such conversation. In addition,
Dominic Cummings has also said that he too raised concerns, in writing. We have
not found any documentary evidence of this.

Referring to the event itself, it is clear that – once again – Boris Johnson attended and participated fully:

The Prime Minister attended at approximately 18.00 for around 30 minutes to thank staff before returning to his office with Martin Reynolds for a meeting at 18.30.

So he was there with Martin Reynolds, who knew it was an illegal gathering. He should have known himself that it was an illegal gathering, being the government representative who had explained the rules to the rest of us. But he not only allowed it to happen but attended and spent 30 minutes with the 40 staff there.

The excuse that he only stopped by to thank staff for their work during the Covid crisis doesn’t make sense because it does not take 30 minutes to make a brief speech of thanks. It seems clear that Johnson was himself socialising with staff, adding his own household to all the others that should not have been mixing at that time, according to the rules that he had put in place.

How strange that the Metropolitan Police who investigated this event, and must have known that it was an illegal party attended by the prime minister, chose not to fine him for this flagrant law-breaking! How convenient for them that their Acting Commissioner was able to dismiss this omission simply by declaring that, as far as he was concerned, all the decisions were above-board!

Reynolds, who subsequently had a meeting with Johnson inside 10 Downing Street, sent a WhatsApp message to a special advisor later in the evening, which appears to be about a story in the press:

[Martin Reynolds] [19:36] “Best of luck – a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with).”

In the light of all this evidence, it is not credible for Boris Johnson to claim that he had not fallen foul of rules in the Ministerial Code because he had not broken the law on purpose.

He should have known himself that the event broke his rules because he was the one who laid them down for us all.

His principal private secretary certainly knew that the event broke Johnson’s own rules, and attended the event with Johnson. Considering the contents of his electronic correspondence, it seems extremely unlikely that he did not mention to Johnson that the event was illegal.

Also, if the event was not against the rules, why was everybody involved so tight-lipped about it, to the point of hiding it from the media?

And this is just one of many such parties.

It doesn’t matter what Johnson says – the evidence exposes him as a liar.

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Sue Gray report in depth: how many times was Boris Johnson drunk in charge of a nation?

Boozy Johnson: it seems he spent most of the Covid-19 crisis drunk, along with many of the staff at Downing Street – and the Met Police, together with Sue Gray, have been trying to cover-up his wrongdoing.

Isn’t it a shame that Sue Gray’s report into the drunken party culture that prevailed at Downing Street from early 2020 until late 2021 (at least) is so uneven.

Parts of it are thoroughly researched, but other parts – especially, it seems, where Boris Johnson is concerned, are amateurish.

Consider the report’s entry about a gathering in the Downing Street flat on the evening of November 13, 2020.

Ms Gray states that after the announcement that Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain were leaving, a meeting was held in the Number 10 flat to discuss the handling of their departure.

It started at 6pm, involving five special advisors, and Johnson himself turned up at 8pm. Food and alcohol were available and the “discussion” continued into the evening with people leaving at various points.

This was not a works gathering – it was a party.

If it had been a works gathering, then it would have taken place in an office – not the flat. Alcohol would certainly not have been available – have you ever been to a work meeting where booze was being served up to all and sundry? I haven’t! People attend work events to work – not to drink. And everybody would have stayed until the meeting was closed by its chair, if it were a works gathering.

Johnson was getting drunk with his mates in his flat and they simply pretended it was a works gathering to diddle the rules, or so it seems to me. Doesn’t it look that way to you?

Ms Gray’s report states she had to halt her investigation because the police inquiry began, and did not re-start it when the Met had finished their dog’s dinner of a probe because she did not think it was “appropriate or proportionate” to do so.

Is this because she feared that she would expose her boss’s lawbreaking further than it already has been?

I’ve looked in detail at just three events so far. All were parties, and Boris Johnson participated fully in all of them. At those times, he was drunk in charge of the nation – and these were times when the nation needed a sober hand at the helm.

It was a flagrant abuse of power that both the Met Police and Ms Gray seem to have been doing their utmost to cover up. Shame on them – and shame on all of us if we allow them to get away with it.

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Rishi Sunak’s cost-of-living complacency evaporates as public opinion turns on the Tories

The bribery brothers: Rishi Sunak has u-turned on his opposition to a windfall tax for fossil fuel companies because he will use the cash to bribe you into supporting the Tory government again, after Sue Gray’s revelations about Boris Johnson’s wild Downing Street parties brought it into disgrace.

The Chancellor whose government spent thousands of pounds teaching civil servants how to juggle balls, while millions of households facing the cost-of-living crisis tried to juggle their bills, is now scrambling to help us in a meaningful way.

It’s a huge u-turn from the Chancellor who couldn’t care less a week ago.

At a time when the government has been enjoying record tax receipts – having raised taxes 15 times since Boris Johnson became prime minister and due to inflation that increases the tax attached to certain commercial items (like fuel) – Sunak had rejected proposals to reduce the tax burden on ordinary people.

Only days ago, Tory MPs rejected calls for a 40 per cent cut in fuel duty and VAT after a petition received more than 102,000 signatures, thereby forcing a discussion in the Commons.

The Government used a false argument that drivers are already saving £1,900 on their annual fuel bills compared with what they might have been paying had a pre-2010 fuel duty escalator remained in place. The pre-2010 rates were altered because times had changed; times have changed again.

And Sunak himself has been dodging the issue, claiming he could not affect the global circumstances driving the crisis. But that isn’t what he has been asked to do.

He had been asked to respond to the crisis in a way that saves ordinary people from impoverishment and prevents a recession and, until today, he had shown no interest in either goal.

George Dibb, in The Guardian, claimed solutions were staring Sunak in the face. He said:

Sunak’s first step should be investing in social security via increases in universal credit and legacy benefits to prevent families falling into destitution.

Second, we need a serious industrial strategy to boost confidence, give long-term business certainty and restore investment in the UK’s productive capacity. Sunak promised to increase private investment with a “super-deduction” incentive, but in fact it fell in the last quarter. To make this long-term vision work, Sunak should break up the Treasury and form a new Ministry for Economic Strategy with the target to drive investment-led, green growth.

Third, rather than continuing to slip on our green ambitions, every home should be insulated and more wind turbines erected across the UK in an investment needed before 2050 anyway. Green power is now the cheapest way of generating energy.

Next, the government must make clear to businesses that just as they were supported in the pandemic, now companies must themselves act responsibly by reducing their profits to keep prices down. Profits have gone up, particularly in uncompetitive, concentrated sectors – so for example petrol stations haven’t passed on the fuel duty cut to customers, benefiting their bottom line at the public’s expense. Evidence from the US suggests that recent rising prices have been disproportionately driven by rising profits, not wages.

Finally, as fossil fuel companies pile up huge, unexpected profits from the crisis that is pushing millions into absolute poverty, it is fair for the government to redistribute these into welfare and income support via a windfall tax.

Well, as I was typing this, Sunak u-turned on his opposition to a windfall tax and will impose a 25 per cent levy on oil and gas firms’ soaring profits, for precisely this purpose.

This isn’t a display of leadership; he has merely caved in to a reasonable proposal that he has previously – unreasonably – rejected.

Sunak is saying that his one-off charge will “tax extraordinary profits fairly and incentivise investments” – so it seems likely he will offer firms a chance to avoid paying the full amount by diverting the money into investment in green – unpolluting – fuel development.

This is another admission of failure, of course. Boris Johnson and others have spent weeks – months? – telling us they didn’t want a windfall tax because they wanted these companies to make the investments on their own initiative. Clearly they have not and, having ignored the carrot, must now endure the stick.

Sunak is using the money to scrap his hugely unpopular and controversial plan to provide £200 to everyone in England, Scotland and Wales in October – and then force us all to pay it back over the following five years.

Instead, he is doubling the amount to £400, which will be non-repayable; we get to keep it.

The poorest households will also get a payment of £650 to help with the cost of living. Eight million households on means-tested benefits will get the money paid directly into their bank accounts in two lump sums – one in July, the other this autumn.

There will also be separate one-off payments of £300 to pensioner households and £150 to individuals receiving disability benefits – groups who are “most vulnerable to rising prices”.

The whole package of payouts will be worth £15 billion – to be partly paid by the windfall tax. We know that inflation is set to increase UK tax receipts by £12.5 billion per year. And of course the National Insurance increase will bring £13 billion into the Treasury.

So the Tory government will still be quids-in and the offer to the people is, to quote Boris Johnson, “chickenfeed”.

But it looks good – and that is all Sunak hopes to achieve.

Remember: prime minister Boris Johnson took a huge hit to his credibility when Sue Gray published her report on the party culture he promoted at Downing Street while the rest of us were enduring Covid-19 lockdowns.

Johnson attended and fully participated in these parties and then lied about them to Parliament and to the public. His claim that he was assured they were permissible because they were “works events” is nonsense because such gatherings were not exempted from lockdown rules when he himself announced them – and he must have known that (otherwise he would be admitting he is too stupid to run the UK).

So Johnson currently stands exposed as unprincipled, untrustworthy and corrupt – a despot who habitually ignores his own laws and treats those he forces to conform to them with contempt. That’s you, by the way.

He desperately needs to bribe the public with an incentive to support him again.

So today, here’s Sunak with a handout for us all. How utterly cynical.

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Shame on Sue Gray – it seems she has let Boris Johnson off the hook over Downing Street parties

Sue Gray’s report on alleged Downing Street parties has been published and is likely to cause further controversy rather than quiet it.

She claims that the very first event she discusses – in which Boris Johnson and others were pictured sitting around a table drinking wine on May 15, 2020, was a legitimate work meeting.

But the rules she herself describes in her report stated that “participating in a gathering of more than two persons in public was prohibited except where the gathering was ‘essential for work purposes’… Social distancing guidance applied, with workplaces required ‘to maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible'”.

Was the gathering “essential for work purposes”? Sue Gray tells us, “the Prime Minister, Martin Reynolds (his Principal Private Secretary), and Dominic Cummings (his senior adviser) were continuing a lengthy meeting that had started in the Prime Minister’s office, before moving to the garden at around 18.00.” Why did they have to meet in person for this meeting? Why were they not socially distanced (you can see from the image above that they are not two metres distant from each other? And crucially, how can it have been a work meeting if there was alcohol provided – and by the prime minister as well?

This Writer has never been to a work meeting at which alcohol was freely available and imbibed by those present.

Those who were there were ignoring social distancing rules that they had imposed.

And there was no reason for them to be in the same space as each other at all.

This was a social gathering, not a works meeting, and Sue Gray has ignored the evidence.

In her favour, Gray criticises those who participated in the events for failing to come forward with full details after her investigation was announced, instead allowing information to become available “piecemeal” as it was revealed by the press. “This is disappointing. Given the piecemeal manner in which events were brought to my attention, it is possible that events took place which were not the subject of investigation.”

This can only be seen as criticism of Boris Johnson as he made it perfectly clear from the start that he would not willingly provide any information about what had happened in Downing Street on his watch.

That’s what This Writer sees after reading just 11 pages into the 60-page report. It seems clear that, like the police before her (or indeed, after her, if this report was in fact written before they started their investigation), Sue Gray has given Boris Johnson every break possible – even if there is damning information in the rest of her report. That is shameful in itself.

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Waiting for Sue Gray: here’s what we already know about Boris Johnson’s corruption

Boris Bull****: it seems the prime minister will try to fool us that he has “learned” his “lesson” after receiving a small fine for being at a single Downing Street party, being let off the hook for all the other events he attended, and lying brazenly to Parliament about what was going on. He is simply the most corrupt crook to have infested the highest office in the UK – and that’s saying a lot!

If Boris Johnson hoped the end of the Met Police investigation into parties at Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdowns would take the heat off him, he was mistaken. It has been turned up.

For a start, doubt has been cast on the police inquiry after images emerged of the prime minister taking part in events for which he was not fined. Were the police protecting Johnson because he is the prime minister, or giving him privileges not afforded to low-level civil servants because he could afford expensive lawyers? If so, then they were defying the basic principle of UK law that everybody should be treated equally. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has demanded a detailed explanation.

And former Met Police deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick has weighed in, stating that the public will want to know what more evidence the police needed to give the prime minister a fixed penalty notice, when the photos appear to show beyond reasonable doubt that he should have been issued with one.

People who attended the parties (and were presumably fined for doing so) have told the BBC and others about the party culture at Downing Street during the Covid lockdowns – a culture endorsed by Boris Johnson, they said, suggesting he “wanted to be liked” and for staff to be able to “let their hair down”, and that they felt they had the prime minister’s permission to socialise even it meant breaking the rules because “he was there.”

It’s not surprising that civil servants are starting to speak out: as is now normal in Boris Johnson’s regime, it is the staff and special advisors who have taken the blame for Partygate rather than the politicians who permitted and participated in the parties. A large majority of the 83 people fined by the police were officials, and Johnson’s backroom team has also suffered a “brutal purge” over the last six months.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – a close Johnson ally – is safe, though, despite speculation on his future. It seems that after Johnson’s ministers withdrew permission for him to give evidence on Partygate to a committee of MPs, his job is not in danger.

Meanwhile, not a single politician has lost their job. Rishi Sunak simply decided he didn’t feel like stepping down after being fined, and Johnson seems determined to corruptly give himself the all-clear for lying to Parliament, if he is a accused of breaking the Ministerial Code. You see, as prime minister, he is in charge of deciding whether anybody has broken it, including himself.

Tory MPs seem split, though. Environment Secretary George “Useless” Eustice has said he expects “nothing new” to come from the report and that he hopes its publication will allow the government to put the scandal behind it, despite all the loose ends that are still dangling about the lies told by Johnson, the possibility of a Met Police cover-up, and the fact that the Tory government tacitly, if not openly, endorsed the party culture.

But critics are said to be relaunching their bid to oust Johnson by triggering a leadership contest with letters of “no confidence” in him.

And Johnson himself?

According to BBC political editor Chris Mason, he actually has the bare-faced cheek to trot out the tired old lie that “We have learned our lesson”.

What utter Boris Bull****.

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No more Partygate fines for Johnson – if we trust Downing Street – but what will Sue Gray say?

Sue Gray: all eyes are turning to her, now she is at liberty to publish her full – and probably damning – report on Boris Johnson and the illegal Downing Street parties he allowed to happen under his nose.

The prime minister’s office at Downing Street has said that Boris Johnson will not receive a second fine for taking part in illegal parties there during the Covid-19 lockdowns that he himself had imposed.

With the police refusing to name anybody they have fined, we are being asked to take the word of people who are themselves likely to have been fined for taking part in the parties (126 people have) and who may have been told to protect their boss.

But whether or not you believe the people who initially spent more than a year hiding the fact that these parties took place at all, the closure of the Metropolitan Police inquiry means that Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray may at last release her own full report on the scandal.

This could be far more damning to Johnson than the police investigation because it may include her verdict on whether he lied to his fellow MPs about whether the parties took place and about his own participation in them.

Lying to Parliament is a grave offence under the Ministerial Code, for which it is entirely possible that Johnson may not only lose his job as prime minister but be expelled from the House of Commons altogether.

Of course, ultimate authority for punishing offences against the Code lies with – guess who? – the prime minister but in a situation in which the PM himself is accused, it seems logical that alternative arrangements will be made to judge the matter.

And MPs have already arranged their own inquiry. A motion for the Commons Privileges Committee to do so was passed “on the nod” after attempts by the Tory leadership to prevent their backbenchers from voting for it were defeated.

We have already been told that the Gray report is so excoriating of Johnson that it may end his premiership:

The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the Prime Minister and could end his premiership.

According to the paper, the official said: “Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister. There’s an immense amount of pressure on her – her report could be enough to end him.” No 10 declined to comment.

According to the i newspaper, in a report last month, Tory rebels have been organising to oust Johnson and the now-four-month reprieve Johnson enjoyed as a result of the police investigation merely allowed them to organise themselves.

Even though we have been told he has not received any more fines, these backbenchers were also watching the results of the local elections at the beginning of the month – in which the Conservatives took a drubbing.

Remember: these were council seats and devolved Parliament places where the Labour Party had enjoyed the so-called “Corbyn bounce” in 2018, and where the Tories may have reasonably expected to make gains this time. Instead both they and Labour lost out to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Ms Gray is expected to release her report next week – and then the sparks may really fly.

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Is Sue Gray’s Covid parties review so damning it could finish Boris Johnson as PM?

Boris Johnson and Cressida Dick: her decision to investigate the so-called Partygate scandal bought him a three-month reprieve from the “excoriating” contents of Sue Gray’s report – but now seems likely to add fuel to incendiary criticisms it contains.

This casts the Metropolitan Police’s decision to investigate the alleged lockdown-busting Downing Street parties – after initially refusing – in a very poor light indeed.

The Met, under then-Commissioner Cressida Dick, decided to launch an investigation after all, shortly before Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray was due to publish her review into the events underlying the so-called Partygate scandal.

Ms Gray had been expected to publish her report around January 24 this year, but it didn’t appear on that day – and on the very next day, Dick announced that the Met was launching an investigation of its own.

This Writer said at the time that the announcement seemed an obvious delaying tactic and today’s (April 25) revelation suggests that I was right.

Ms Gray was forced to amend her report because the plods said they didn’t want it to contain any information that could prejudice their inquiries.

And now we hear claims that the full report is so “excoriating” of Johnson that it could end his term as prime minister:

The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the Prime Minister and could end his premiership.

According to the paper, the official said: “Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister. There’s an immense amount of pressure on her – her report could be enough to end him.” No 10 declined to comment.

Ironically, it seems the Met’s delaying tactic is likely to have made matters worse for Johnson in the long term.

Already he has received one fixed-term penalty – a fine – for attending a party held to celebrate his own birthday in 2020. It seems likely he will receive another for a “bring your own booze” event in the garden of 10 Downing Street on May 20 that year.

And there are four other events that he allegedly attended being investigated by the police as well.

Ms Gray can’t release her full report until after the police investigation has ended but, by then, any criticism of Johnson may be superceded by the consequences of the fines.

According to the i newspaper, Tory rebels are organising to oust him if their party fares poorly in next month’s local elections – or if he receives further fines.

The three-month reprieve Johnson has enjoyed as a result of the police investigation has merely allowed them to organise themselves, it seems.

The paper says Johnson’s critics are currently “holding back” to await the local election results or further fines – but have prepared ‘no confidence’ letters to be submitted en masse to the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs should the party take a battering at the polls on May 5.

It seems Johnson’s chickens are coming home to roost and any plan to fend off his critics with an early general election is likely to fail. How will he try to save his bacon now?

Source: Sue Gray’s Covid parties review could spell ‘end’ of Boris Johnson premiership, says report

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Why have #BorisJohnson and other #Partygate accused been allowed to read the evidence against them?

True to type: here’s a pictorial representative of Boris Johnson reading the evidence against him. Or writing his questionnaire on Downing Street parties, having read the evidence. But not both because that wasn’t allowed (as though it made a difference)!

This is damning:

It turns out the Metropolitan Police – who sent out questionnaires that carry the same legal status as an interview under caution in a criminal investigation – were the wrong people to ask.

It seems Sue Gray – the civil servant employed by Boris Johnson to investigate whether parties happened in Downing Street while the rest of the UK was banned from socialising under Covid-19 lockdown – has been giving Johnson and her colleagues access to all the information she has.

Isn’t that perverting the course of justice?

I’ll put you out of your misery: yes it is. It interferes with a police criminal investigation by providing information to suspects that will allow them to work out a defence that may not be true. Anything that prevents police from getting to the truth is perverting the course of justice.

So Sue Gray should be arrested and charged.

I’m willing to bet that she won’t.

Here’s the evidence of what she has done:

Boris Johnson is being allowed to read evidence gathered about him by the inquiry into the No 10 parties before answering police questions, a leaked letter reveals.

Sue Gray has granted permission to everyone under investigation – all Downing Street staff and the prime minister – limited access to notes taken about them by her inquiry.

The letter, seen by ITV News, says she is allowing the access “as an exceptional measure”, pointing to the “particular circumstances surrounding this set of events”.

It means Johnson will have been able (if necessary) to fabricate a story that accommodates the evidence held by police – meaning they would be deprived of the opportunity to question any discrepancies between his story and the evidence, that may have arisen had he not seen it in advance.

If you’re struggling to understand the implications, this is equivalent to providing students with a full set of correct answers to all the questions they are likely to be asked in an examination.

And what are the “particular circumstances surrounding this set of events” that mean Downing Street staff and Johnson himself merit VIP treatment, anyway?

So much for British justice. I look forward to hearing how far the rest of us get when interviewed about a criminal offence, after we demand to see the evidence against us in light of the “particular circumstances”.

Source: Boris Johnson allowed to read Partygate evidence gathered on him before answering police questions | The Independent

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Even the limited #SueGrayReport should sink #BorisJohnson

Still laughing at us: Boris Johnson mocked attempts to hold him to account at Prime Minister’s Questions and he did the same in his statement on Sue Gray’s interim report – this time hiding behind the fact that he is being investigated by the police for criminal offences.

Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray has published an update on her investigation into lockdown-busting parties at Downing Street – not the report of her inquiry – and it should still be enough to end Boris Johnson’s time as the UK’s worst-ever prime minister.

The update states that Ms Gray was asked to investigate 16 “gatherings” at 10 Downing Street or in its gardens, between May 2020 and April 2021, but she is unable to report in any meaningful way on her conclusions.

This is because the police are now investigating potential criminal offences that may have been committed as a result of 12 of those gatherings having taken place.

These include a birthday party for Johnson himself in the Cabinet Room on June 19, 2020.

They also include a so-called “Abba” party in the flat at 11 Downing Street that is inhabited by Johnson and his wife on November 13, 2020.

So the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is being investigated by the police for criminal offences. That alone should be enough to see him off.

Johnson is on the record, in Parliament, as having said he was unaware of any gatherings having taken place at all.

But he was present at his own birthday event (obviously) and in refusing to say he was not at the Downing Street flat on November 13, 2020, it may be inferred that he was tacitly admitting that he was there.

It seems clear that he has lied brazenly to Parliament and to the public about these insults to the people of the UK who were making huge sacrifices while he whooped it up at our expense.

But when he traipsed into the House of Commons and made his (lawyer-drafted?) statement, Johnson merely trotted out that tired old lie that the government would “learn the lessons” and said he’d create a new “Office of the Prime Minister”, as if that would end the corruption that oozes out of him wherever he goes.

And when the SNP’s Ian Blackford – correctly – accused him of lying and misleading Parliament, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle ordered the Scottish Nationalist out of the chamber.

But it seems clear that members of his own party know that Johnson’s time is up.

Former PM Theresa May made very good points:

And former Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell stood up to announce that Johnson has lost his confidence.

How many other Tories are thinking the same thing, even if they aren’t saying it?

It’s time to get those “no confidence” letters flowing in to Graham Brady.

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#SueGray hands over #Partygate report to Downing Street. But has she edited it?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Was he wearing it in Parliament when he deflected calls for an inquiry into his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic?


The BBC is reporting that Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray has provided a report to Downing Street on her inquiry into lockdown-busting parties at Number 10 – but is it the inquiry report itself, or just an update?

If it is the inquiry’s report, the next question is whether it will be a full report, after the Metropolitan Police demanded that information on more serious offences that could have taken place should be removed to avoid prejudicing its officers’ investigations of them.

(Senior UK lawyers have said this is nonsense and her report cannot possibly prejudice a police inquiry, especially when one remembers that the offences concerned carry a penalty equivalent, in their words, to a parking fine.)

If the report does contain redactions in line with the Met’s demands, Boris Johnson is still not out of the woods, though.

Within police restrictions, it may still state whether parties took place, and it may still form a conclusion as to whether Johnson knew about them at the time. If he did, then he has since lied to Parliament and to the public about them – and should resign.

The problem with this, of course, is the same problem with the inquiry that has always existed: such an offence would be a breach of the Ministerial Code – but Johnson himself is the final arbiter of whether such a breach has taken place.

He may simply choose to excuse himself, as he excused Priti Patel when an inquiry found that she had bullied civil servants in the three government departments where she has worked.

That would be an extreme example of corruption at the heart of government, of course.

But would you put it past him?

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