Even if the report by Sue Gray did not contain major new disclosures, it offered a litany of details about how officials inside the prime minister’s office organized social gatherings — including a picture of a louche Downing Street where Boris Johnson’s media office regularly held an event known as “Wine Time Friday.”
Some questioned the optics of holding parties during lockdowns, according to the report, while others advised their staffers to leave Downing Street by a back entrance to avoid cameras waiting outside.
“A number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did,” the document said.
Ms. Gray went on to note that “many will be dismayed that behavior of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of Government.” She said she was told of “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff,” which she described as unacceptable.
“The public have a right to expect the very highest standards of behavior in such places and clearly what happened fell well short of this.” she wrote. The leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, described the report as a “monument to the hubris and arrogance of a government that believed it is one rule for them and another rule for everyone else.”
“This report lays bare the rot that under this prime minister has spread in 10 Downing Street. And it provides definitive proof of how those within that building treated the sacrifices of the British people with utter contempt,” Mr. Starmer said.
The leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster, Ian Blackford, delivered a thunderous demand for the prime minister to resign. He described the atmosphere inside Downing Street as so unruly that the police had to be called to intervene to separate people.
“At the center was the prime minister orchestrating it, grabbing a glass himself in order to toast the partygoers,” Mr. Blackford said.
Referring to the National Health Service, he said that, “While people stayed at home to protect the N.H.S., the prime minister was engaging in drinking and debauchery that at makes a mockery of the sacrifices people made.”
When security staff arrived on one occasion after a panic alarm was accidentally triggered, they found a party in full swing. “Some members of staff drank excessively. The event was crowded and noisy such that some people working elsewhere in the No 10 building that evening heard significant levels of noise coming from what they characterized as a ‘party’ in the Press Office.”
The following day, a cleaner noted that there had been red wine spilled on one wall and on boxes of photocopier paper, the report said.
Another event, which included karaoke, lasted for hours. “There was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals. One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals,” it added.
During a farewell party that took place on the eve of the funeral of Prince Philip, the swing belonging to the toddler son of the prime minister was damaged. The last person left the building at 4:20 a.m., according to exit logs.