New Number 10 event unearthed by Sue Gray took place on week of highest Covid deaths in Wales
A previously unreported Downing Street event listed in the Sue Gray report took place in the same week that Covid related deaths reached their peak in Wales.
A “gathering” was held at Number 10 Downing Street to mark the departure of two senior civil servants on Friday January 14 last year, the report revealed.
It came during the worst week of the pandemic in Wales, with 467 Covid deaths registered in the week ending January 15 according to official data. That included the single worst day, Monday January 11, when 83 deaths were recorded.
The gathering was one of 16 events in Downing Street and Whitehall between May 2020 and April 2021 that were listed in the report published today, 11 of which are now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
The deaths of almost 250 people were recorded on the days on which 10 of those events took place.
20 May 2020:
The Gray report: “A gathering in the garden of No 10 Downing Street for No 10 staff.”
Registered deaths in Wales: 13
June 19 2020:
The Gray report: “A gathering in the Cabinet room in No 10 Downing Street on the Prime Minister’s birthday”
Registered deaths in Wales: 7
November 13 2020:
The Gray report: “A gathering in the No 10 Downing Street flat”
“A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser”
Registered deaths in Wales: 37
December 17 2020:
The Gray report: “A gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall to hold an online Christmas quiz for the Cabinet Secretary’s private office”
“A gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a senior Cabinet Office official
“A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a No 10 official”
Registered deaths in Wales: 50
18 December 2020:
The Gray report: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street ahead of the Christmas break”
Registered deaths in Wales: 66
14 January 2021:
The Gray report: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of two No 10 private secretaries”
Registered deaths in Wales: 75
16 April 2021:
The Gray report: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a senior No 10 official.”
“A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of another No 10 official.”
Registered deaths in Wales: 1
Nation.Cymru reported on Saturday how dozens of people were fined in Wales for attending parties on the same days that the Downing Street parties are alleged to have taken place.
Downing Street didn’t have a say on the Covid regulations in Wales, but the Gray report said: “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.”
Gray found “failings of leadership and judgement” inside Downing Street and said: “A number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did.”
In a statement to a packed House of Commons, Boris Johnson said “I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way that this matter has been handled.” However, he told MPs calling for his resignation that they should wait for the conclusion of the police investigation and pointed to the fact Sue Gray’s report said “no conclusions should be drawn” on the outcome of that investigation based on her report.
In response, Conservative MP for Clwyd South, Simon Baynes, said he recognised “that Number 10 Downing Street is an unusual amalgam of workspace, office space and private home” and asked what steps the Prime Minister would take to make clearer the lines between them in future.
Delyn MP Rob Roberts offered more full-throated support to the Prime Minister, saying: “The Prime Minister delivers. He delivered on Brexit, he delivered with furlough, and with the self-employment income scheme that ensured businesses were able to survive, he delivered with one of the best vaccination programmes in the world, he delivered a country that is coming out of a pandemic and an economy that is thriving.”
But Cardiff North Labour MP Anna McMorin said the Prime Minister should do the “decent thing and resign” after recounting a letter from a constituent “devastated and upset” that he “couldn’t see his disabled son, his elderly mother with dementia, and his new born child” during confinement.
Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams urged backbench Conservative MPs to “discover their backbones” and oust Boris Johnson.
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