Downing Street parties ‘failures of leadership and judgment’ by No 10 says Sue Gray report
The downing street parties were “failures of leadership and judgment” by those at No 10, the Sue Gray report has concluded.
The much-delayed but damning report has been published today on the UK Government website.
The report includes a message from then Director of Communications Lee Cain who warned that one of the parties would make a bad impression.
“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,” he said. In another message, he discusses the “rather substantial comms risks” of another leaving party.
Martin Reynolds, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, is also quoted as having sent a Whatsapp message saying that he was pleased “we seem to have got away with” a drinks event without the press picking up on it.
Sue Grey also notes that she stopped part of her own inquiry when the Met Office decided to investigate the parties and ultimately issue the Prime Minister with a single fine.
The report concludes that “against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify”.
“At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.
“At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public.
“There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.
“The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time. Steps must be taken to ensure that every Government Department has a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace.”
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