PARTYGATE investigator Sue Gray lifted the lid on boozy lockdown antics at No10 — as her long-awaited report told of vomiting aides, drunken fights and karaoke bashes.
New pictures showed the PM raising a can of beer next to cheap Tesco sarnies at a rather bleak birthday party in June 2020 — for which he got a £50 fine.
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case is seen laughing alongside him but mysteriously avoided a penalty.
The dossier, published after six months of allegations and 126 fines, contained nine photos of bashes in total, and Ms Gray ruled “many should not have happened”.
A potential leadership challenge fizzled out after the probe fell short of savaging the PM, and no new revelations emerged.
A source close to Mr Johnson said: “The whole picture is not this idea that the public may have had over the last few months that the PM was partying as if it was Saturday night in Ibiza in July.”
But relatives of Covid victims banned from funerals were infuriated by the No10 bad behaviour.
Safiah Ngah, 29, unable to say goodbye to dad Zahari last February, said: “The Government is completely out of touch with what real people are experiencing and it’s unsurprising.
“They’re obviously very privileged people with limited experience.
The brutal, 37-page report found:
- WHITEHALL chiefs bragged “we got away with it” after sneaking bottles past TV cameras;
- STAFF ignored warnings to stop illegal bashes;
- AIDES showed a lack of respect to cleaners and security;
- HOURS before the Queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s funeral, workers partied in the No10 garden until 4.20am and broke a swing used by the PM’s son Wilfred;
- A HUGE party took place the day before the PM cancelled Christmas in 2020.
Mr Johnson spent yesterday grovelling and admitted “full responsibility for everything that happened on my watch”.
He also privately apologised to cleaners and security guards who had to clean up red wine and sick.
The PM still faces questions after Ms Gray admitted she did not look into accusations of an “Abba party” at his flat and he repeatedly refused to deny he had tried to prevent the report’s publication.
But he vowed it was time to “move on”, insisting: “I am humbled and I have learned a lesson.
“No matter how bitter and painful that the conclusions of this may be — and they are — and no matter how humbling they are, I’ve got to keep moving forward, and the Government has got to. And we are.”
Mr Johnson told the Commons he was “as surprised and disappointed as anyone else in the House as the revelations have unfolded and, frankly, I have been appalled by some of the behaviour”.
But he said staff were working extremely long hours and “doing their best” in the pandemic, adding: “I appreciate this is no mitigation but it’s important to set out.”
And he denied lying to Parliament, telling MPs: “I’m happy to set on the record now that when I came to this House and said, in all sincerity, that the rules and guidance had been followed at all times, it was what I believed to be true.
“Clearly this was not the case for some of those gatherings.”
He added later: “I take that responsibility and I continue to make sure we make changes. I apologised today to the House and the country, but also to the custodians and the staff, who it now turns out were wrongly and badly treated. I think it is repugnant that that happened.”
PM’S SLIPPERY PATH
By Harry Cole
BORIS Johnson was once branded the “albino greased piglet” because of his remarkable ability to slip out of trouble.
As the dust settles on Sue Gray’s marathon probe, it looks like the lucky swine has escaped the butcher’s knife once again with no knockout blow.
The mood in Westminster was clearer last night — the Prime Minister’s enemies were waiting for Gray to be the death knell, yet it fell short.
But the size of the problems coming down the track for Britain means Boris will be ordering grease by the truckload still.
“Partying hasn’t got the PM, but inflation might yet,” warns one Cabinet colleague.
Ms Gray discovered Downing Street chiefs boasted “we got away with it” after 200 Government staffers were invited to a “bring your own booze” party by the PM’s right-hand man Martin Reynolds in May 2020.
Reynolds, dubbed “Party Marty”, ignored concerns of other worried aides.
Another aide said partygoers should hide their booze from journalists at that day’s Covid press conference, warning they should not be spotted “waving bottles of wine”.
But after the illegal bash, Reynolds told an aide at the drinks: “We seem to have got away with it.”
Two more bashes were held on April 16, 2021, the evening before Prince Philip’s funeral.
Ms Gray said the parties merged in the Downing Street garden until 4.20am.
One party that evening was held for departing comms boss James Slack, who now works at UK Times.
And a huge party took place on December 18, 2020 — the day before Mr Johnson cancelled Christmas with the tier system.
Staff “drank excessively” and a cleaner later found red wine sloshed up a wall, said the report.
At one bash the official then in charge of Whitehall ethics, Helen MacNamara, provided a karaoke machine and an “altercation” broke out between revellers.
Ms Gray blasted “failures of leadership and judgment” in No10 and the Cabinet Office.
She said: “The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”
She also ruled that some Downing Street staff were worried about the rule-breaking they witnessed but felt unable to raise the alarm.
She added: “I do offer a reflection: While there is no excuse for some of the behaviour set out here, it is important to acknowledge that those in the most junior positions attended gatherings at which their seniors were present, or indeed organised.”
Her damning dossier concluded: “Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of Government. The public have a right to expect the very highest standards of behaviour in such places and clearly what happened fell well short of this.”
But despite the criticism, a threatened Tory coup against Mr Johnson fizzled out before it even began last night.
Some of his MPs had said the PM is “drinking in the last chance saloon” and another scandal would make him toast.
His allies hit back to suggest it would be “ludicrous” for Mr Johnson to resign.
But most felt the report hasn’t “changed the dial” and that the PM is safe in his job — for now at least.
One MP said they feel like they are in a “cult”, which “everyone wants to leave — we are worn down by it. But I still like the guy”.
They added: “It would be madness to have a leadership election now. It would leave the Government in paralysis, nothing would get done.”
Another said the report was a “damp squib” and everyone just wants to move on.
But several Tory rebels said they think BoJo will be gone — if not now then at the next General Election.
One told UK Times: “I don’t think he is a winner any more. If he leads us to the next election I think we lose.” Another said: “The report is dull — but damning.”
Only Julian Sturdy the Conservative MP for York Outer, called for Mr Johnson to resign.
In a statement on Twitter, Mr Sturdy said the Sue Gray report “clearly shows the Prime Minister has presided over a widespread culture of disregard for the coronavirus regulations”.
FIVE DAMNING FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT
By Kate Ferguson
1) A LEAVING do for a senior staffer in June 2020 saw Helen McNamara — then Whitehall’s ethics chief — bring in a karaoke machine so No10 aides could belt out pop anthems as they downed prosecco and scoffed pizza.
Sue Gray says there was “excessive alcohol consumption” and “one individual was sick”.
A fight broke out between two partygoers. The last revellers left at 3.13am.
2) While pubs across the country had to close, thirsty aides. had “Wine Time Fridays” — when bottles of plonk would be left on a table for staffers to help themselves.
Staffers even bought a fridge to keep all their booze nice and cold during late-night drinking sessions.
3) Some of the Downing Street staffers caught partying were rude to security and cleaning staff who pulled them up on their bad behaviour.
Sue Gray’s report blasted: “I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable.”
4) The civil servant at the centre of the Partygate storm boasted to colleagues “we seem to have got away with it”.
WhatsApp messages unearthed by the inquiry suggest No10 aides knew they were breaking lockdown rules.
Martin Reynolds — a senior civil servant dubbed Party Marty after organising a BYOB bash in the No10 garden — swapped texts about the drinks.
In one he wrote of a press story: “Best of luck — a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with).”
5) In a damning verdict, Sue Gray said that blame for the illegal lockdown breaking lay with “senior leadership” at the very top of No10 — both political and official.
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