Key Findings of Sue Gray’s Report: Karaoke Machine, Drunkenness and Panic Button Triggered | Political news

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The Sue Gray report details the rule-breaking events that took place in Downing Street and Whitehall during the lockdowns – and it is 60 pages long.

Here, Sky News looks at its main criticisms of the government.

Associate Political Editor Sam Coates provided his analysis on the most important sections of the report in gray boxes.

Senior management ‘must take responsibility’ for Downing Street culture

In her findings, Sue Gray says she had already found ‘failures of leadership and judgment’ both at Number 10 and the Cabinet Office in the update she gave in January, before the Met Police announces its own investigation.

She elaborates by saying that many of the events she has investigated were “monitored by government leaders” and “should not have been allowed to happen.”

As a result, she writes, “more junior officials felt their involvement was permissible given the presence of senior leaders.”

“The centre’s top management, both political and official, must take responsibility for this culture,” she concludes.

“Many will be appalled that behavior like this has taken place on this scale in government. The public has a right to expect the highest standards of behavior in such places and it is clear that what s happened is well below that.”

Sam says…

This is the key judgment at the heart of this report.

The big question now is what that means.

We’re told Boris Johnson won’t quit, and Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, won’t quit either – so who’s going to take the blame?

“Excess alcohol” consumed on June 18

New details emerged about the starting party on June 18, 2020.

The event was split into two parts, the first took place in the Cabinet Room and was attended by over 25 people including Dominic Cummings and Simon Case, then Permanent Secretary for COVID and Pandemic Response. It started between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. and ended at 7:40 p.m.

Part two moved into the cabinet secretary’s private waiting room and was not attended by everyone who went to part one. It started around 7:50 p.m. and “lasted several hours”.

Sue Gray writes that “some brought pizza and prosecco” and that Helen MacNamara, then Assistant Cabinet Secretary, “provided a karaoke machine”.

Ms Gray reveals: “There was excessive drinking by some people. One person was ill. There was a minor altercation between two other people.”

The day before Prince Philip’s funeral, the last reveler left at 4.20am

Two going away parties were held in Downing Street on April 16, 2021 – the day before Prince Philip’s heavily restricted funeral.

One was for James Slack, then Downing Street communications director, and the other was for an unnamed Number 10 official.

Detailing the event, Ms Gray writes: “A number of individuals gathered near a child’s swing/slide in the garden, damaging it by leaning on it and playing with it.

“It was noticed the next morning and reported to the staff at number 10. Some people stayed in the building and continued to drink alcohol until the early hours.”

Finally, the report states: “Exit logs indicate that some left after midnight and others between 1:45 and 2:45 a.m. Two staff members stayed even later, one leaving at 3:11 a.m. and the last at 4:20 a.m..”

Staff told to leave Christmas quiz through backdoor due to ‘drunkenness’

Detailing the December 15, 2020 Christmas Zoom quiz, Ms Gray said between 120 and 150 people were involved, including at least 18 in person at 70 Whitehall.

After the Prime Minister joined the quiz to read the questions around 7.50pm, a Number 10 official sent an internal message ‘referring to ‘drunkenness’ and advising staff to leave Number 10 through the back exit’.

‘The Number 10 manager informed the investigation team that they had done this to avoid staff being photographed by the press outside,’ Ms Gray wrote.

The panic button went off and the police went to the Christmas ‘cheese and wine’ party

On Friday, December 18, 2020, the usual weekly “Wine Time Friday” event took place.

As it was the last working day of the year, it became a cheese and wine night to celebrate.

Outlining what happened, the report said: “At approximately 7.45pm that evening, a panic button was accidentally triggered by a member of staff.

“The duty guards responded, as did one of the duty officers at Gate 10.”

He adds: “There was food and alcohol that had been bought and brought in by staff. Some staff were drinking excessively.

“The event was crowded and loud, so some people working elsewhere in building #10 that evening heard significant noise levels from what they described as a party at the press office.

“A housekeeper who came to the room the next morning noted that there had been spilled red wine on a wall and on a number of boxes of photocopier paper.”

Warning has been sent that Downing Street ‘BYOB’ garden party could be a ‘communications risk’

After receiving one of around 200 invitations to the now famous ‘BYOB’ party in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020, Downing Street communications director Lee Cain warned he could act “from a risk of communication”.

The Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, told staff in his email: ‘After what has been an incredibly busy period, we thought it would be good to make the most of the beautiful weather and have a social distancing drink in the garden tonight.

“Please join us from 6 p.m. and bring your own alcohol!”

Mr Cain replied: “I’m sure everything will be fine – and I applaud the gesture – but an invitation to 200 people for a drink in the garden of No 10 is a bit of a communication risk in the environment current.”

Although Dominic Cummings claimed he also raised concerns at this stage, Ms Gray said: ‘We have found no documentary evidence of this.

People have been warned not to ‘shake’ wine bottles

A Number 10 special adviser warned staff attending ‘socially distanced drinks’ on May 20, 2020 to be ‘aware’ that the televised press conference could still go on and not to expose alcohol.

The adviser said in a WhatsApp message to Martin Reynolds: “Drinking tonight is a good idea so I’ve shared with the E&V team who are in the office. Just to flag that the press conference will probably end at this hour, so helpful if people can be aware of this as the speakers and cameras go off, not walking around waving wine bottles, etc.”

Martin Reynolds claimed he ‘escaped’ with the BYOB party

In an undated WhatsApp message, Mr Reynolds told a special adviser they ‘ran away with’ the BYOB party on May 20, 2020.

The message read: “Good luck – a complete non-story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have gotten out of).”

Sam says…

It was the peak of the pandemic.

It was at a time when the government was telling everyone to stay at home.

Martin Reynolds was Number 10’s most senior official – the head of Boris Johnson’s private office.

He was even warned that it was a good idea from none other than communications director Lee Cain.

Not once, but twice – first in relation to the May 20 event, then another on June 18.

I think it’s going to be very difficult for number 10.

Not least because the report also contains a WhatsApp message from Reynolds to a number 10 on an unspecified later date suggesting they ‘ran away’ from it.

Staff ‘felt unable’ to raise concerns and there was ‘mistreatment’ of security/cleaners

In her findings, Sue Gray asserts that staff “witnessed or [had] were subjected to behaviors at work that concerned them but sometimes felt unable to elevate themselves properly”.

“I have been made aware of multiple instances of disrespect and mistreatment by security and cleaning staff,” she wrote.

Calling it “unacceptable”, she said she was “reassured to see that steps have since been taken to put in place more easily accessible ways to raise concerns”.

“Disappointing” certain events revealed only by the media

In her section on the scope of the investigation, Ms Gray says she regrets that some of the events may never have come to light had they not come to light through the media.

“I am very grateful to those who have sought to provide as much information as possible about what I realize may have been a daunting experience given the public profile of this investigation,” she says.

“It is also unfortunately the case that the details of certain events have only become known to me and my team through media reports. It is disappointing.

For more partygate coverage:
Follow live updates as the Prime Minister responds to a damning report
All photos from Sue Gray’s report – including PM with beers

“Given the piecemeal manner in which events have come to my attention, it is possible that events have occurred that have not been investigated.”

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