Angela Rayner has described the findings of a report into numerous allegations that Covid rule-breaking gatherings were held in Downing Street at the height of the pandemic as “sickening” and reiterated Labour’s call for Boris Johnson to resign.
Sue Gray carried out an inquiry into the allegations, but was asked by the Metropolitan Police Service to make “minimal reference” to incidents it is looking into. The findings of the senior civil servant were published this afternoon.
“I found it really sickening and, of course, this was not the full report – this was an update. 12 of the 16 gatherings are now being investigated by the police,” the deputy Labour leader told Sky News today.
“I find it utterly sickening that at a time when key workers were dying on the frontline their loved ones were not able to say goodbye to them at a funeral, yet in Downing Street and in No 10 they were having gatherings and parties.
“It is the most fundamental failure of any Prime Minister and I am absolutely shocked that Boris Johnson can even show his face in parliament today. If he stands up at that despatch box shortly, the only thing he should be saying is how truly sorry he is for letting down the British public and he should be resigning.”
Rayner told viewers this afternoon that “the Prime Minister is the leader at No 10 and the buck stops with him”, and again stressed that this report was “only an update” and that other gatherings are being looked into by the police.
The 12-page report by Gray was described as an “update” throughout the document. It found that “there were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times”.
Gray wrote that the Downing Street garden was “used for gatherings without clear authorisation or oversight” and that this “was not appropriate”. She added: “Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did…
“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.”
The report confirmed that its scope extended to five social gatherings held in breach of Covid rules, and that 12 others are currently being investigated by the police as they were deemed to have “reached the threshold for criminal investigation”.
Of the three events the police are investigating, three include the Prime Minister and one his Downing Street flat. The police are investigating allegations surrounding his birthday party in June 2020 and a ‘BYOB’ garden party in May.