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A long-awaited report focusing on the lockdown-violating parties held in British government offices blamed Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior officials for “failures of leadership and judgment,” Axios reported.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray released a scathing report Wednesday following an investigation into 16 events held between May 2020 and April 2021 at the prime minister’s premises on Downing Street and the Whitehall offices.
At the time of the parties, the government had imposed coronavirus lockdowns that barred people from socializing, or even from visiting sick or dying relatives.
Gray concluded that the “senior leadership team … must bear responsibility” for a culture that allowed events to take place that “should not have been allowed to happen,” the Associated Press noted.
She detailed that staff “drank excessively” and damaged property during the festivities – in a scandal that has been dubbed “partygate.” She also cited “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff” during the parties.
The report comes as London police fined dozens of officials for violating the rules, including Johnson.
Following the report, Johnson apologized to Parliament and took “full responsibility” for the events, adding that he was “appalled” by the treatment of security and cleaning staff. But he emphasized that he “simply wasn’t there” on some of these occasions and continued to refuse calls to resign.
Critics and opposition politicians have accused the embattled leader of lying to lawmakers about the events. Officials who knowingly mislead Parliament are expected to resign.
Observers noted that the report could revive calls within Johnson’s Conservative party to push for a no-confidence motion against the prime minister.
Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is facing allegations that he broke Covid-19 rules during a campaign event last year. A fierce critic of Johnson, Starmer vowed to resign if he was fined for violating the rules.