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Boris Johnson says he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ at partygate revelations in Sue Gray report | Politics News


Boris Johnson has said he “briefly attended” Downing Street lockdown gatherings but didn’t know at the time that they “went on far longer than was necessary”.

The prime minister told the Commons he went to thank staff because it’s “one of essential duties of leadership” and to keep morale as high as possible” during an intense period dealing with the pandemic.

He added: “I had no knowledge of those subsequent proceedings because I wasn’t there.”

Politics live: Damning Sue Gray report published

The PM said he had been as “surprised and disappointed as anyone else in this House as the revelations” came to light and that he was “appalled” by some of the behaviour in the report.

Opening his statement, Mr Johnson said he took “full responsibility for everything that took place under my watch”.

He also denied he had lied to the Commons when he said previously that no rules were broken.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson had shown “utter contempt” for the public and that Sue Gray’s report demonstrated the “hubris and arrogance” of the government.

He said it was time for Mr Johnson “to pack his bags” and “restore dignity” to the office of the prime minister.

The long-awaited report said Downing Street leadership must “bear responsibility” for the culture of partying during COVID lockdowns.

She said the conduct fell “well short” of the high standards expected by the public.

Her report looked at 16 events in 2020 and 2021 and found a large number of people had attended events and broken lockdown rules.

Senior staff attended or organised some of them, and excessive alcohol consumption was also reported, while some staff felt unable to raise concerns.

The report’s release had been delayed until police finished their own investigation.

Met Police’s inquiry saw 83 people receive at least one fixed-penalty notice for attending get-togethers over eight dates.

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