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


Boris Johnson has said although he “briefly attended” gatherings at Downing Street during lockdown he did not know at the time they “went on far longer than was necessary”.

The prime minister told the House of Commons he went to the gatherings to thank staff for their service “which I believe is one of essential duties of leadership and particularly important when people need to feel that their contributions have been appreciated and to keep morale as high as possible”.

He went on to say: “I had no knowledge of those subsequent proceedings because I wasn’t there.”

The PM added that 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 detailed in the report.

Mr Johnson opened his statement to the Commons by saying he takes “full responsibility for everything that took place under my watch”.

Sue Gray’s report said senior leadership at Downing Street – both political and official – must “bear responsibility” for the culture of partying during COVID lockdowns.

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

But she said she didn’t believe it reflected the prevailing culture in government and the civil service at the time.

The report’s release had been delayed until police finished their own investigation into rule-breaking at the heart of government.

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

Politics live: Damning Sue Gray report published


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