Top civil servant Sue Gray finally delivered an update on her probe into claims of drinking sessions and other gatherings at the heart of government during the depths of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Failures of leadership” and “excessive consumption of alcohol” were among the highlights of the 12-page initial report published today - although the Metropolitan Police will have to complete its own investigation before the full findings have the opportunity to be made public.
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She said: “The findings of the interim report published by Sue Gray today reinforce my belief that Boris Johnson is not fit to govern, and that he should resign.
“It is clear that the Prime Minister is unwilling to tell the truth about the endless list of parties that took place in Downing Street.
“We abided by the rules, he ignored them - our country deserves so much better.”
Of 16 separate gatherings across Downing Street and wider Government between May 15, 2020, and April 16 last year investigated by Gray, 12 are now being probed by the Metropolitan Police.
It concludes that a “number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place”.
However, the report also conceded it is currently “not possible at present to provide a meaningful report” due to the force’s ongoing investigation.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, called the latest update on the ‘Partygate’ saga “utterly damning”.
She added: “[Boris Johnson] still does not believe himself to be accountable and continues to make excuses for the indefensible.
“I do not believe he has the trust of the nation as Prime Minister.”
This was also backed by Easington MP Grahame Morris, who called Johnson’s position “untenable” and urged Conservative MPs to force him from office if he refuses to resign.
Speaking in the House of Commons however, the Prime Minister insisted he would stick around, promising “I get it and I will fix it” in addressing claims the Downing Street operation is “fragmented and complicated” and that this had led to the “blurring of lines of accountability”.