Sue Gray report: Everything you need to know about each lockdown-busting party in Downing Street and Whitehall | Politics News

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Sky News goes through what Sue Gray’s report says about the 16 events she investigated. They took place over a 20-month period from May 2020 to April 2021.

The details she established came as a result of interviews with more than 70 individuals, an examination of WhatsApp messages, photographs and building entry logs.

Politics hub: Damning Sue Gray report published

15 May 2020: A photograph showing a number of groups in the garden of No 10 Downing Street

Police fines issued? No – not investigated by Met

The photo, published by The Guardian, showed Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie, principal private secretary Martin Reynolds and then-special adviser Dominic Cummings in the Downing Street garden.

Former health secretary Matt Hancock was also pictured, alongside around 20 other staff.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

The scenes captured in this image were described in the report as “a number of separate meetings” that took place following a press conference in Downing Street.

20 May 2020: A gathering in the garden of No 10 Downing Street for No 10 staff

Police fines issued? Yes

This was the gathering connected to the infamous “bring your own booze” email, sent to Downing Street staff by the prime minister’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds.

The event took place just hours after then culture secretary Oliver Dowden had appeared at a Downing Street news briefing in which he reminded the public they could only meet one other person outdoors from outside their household.

First revealed by ITV news, the email read: “Hi all, after what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

Fines were issued in relation to this event by the Met Police. Concluding their investigation, the force said they had found breaches of the rules around leaving or being outside of the place where you were living without reasonable excuse.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

It concluded this event had been held to “boost staff morale following a challenging period for staff”.

“It was an event planned in advance by officials and attended by a significant number of people. Some concerns were expressed about whether it was appropriate to hold the event,” the report said.

The email invitation was sent to around 200 staff across No 10 Downing Street as well as special advisers in the chancellor’s office.

A number of people declined the invitation and warned it was not a good idea including former Director of Communications Lee Cain who said “a 200 odd person invitation for drinks in the garden of no 10 is somewhat of a comms risk in the current environment”.

The event began shortly before 6pm with the last people leaving between 10 and 11pm.

The prime minister was there for around half an hour from 6pm.

18 June 2020: A gathering in the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a No 10 private secretary

Police fines issued? Yes

Few details were known about this gathering at the Cabinet Office on 18 June 2020 prior to the publication of the report.

Fines were issued in relation to this event by the Met Police. Concluding their investigation, the force said they had found breaches around the restrictions on participating in an indoor gathering consisting of two or more people.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

It split this event into two parts.

The first – which lasted around an hour – took place in the Cabinet Room in No 10 “involving formal leaving speeches and some alcohol”. Around 25 people were there including Dominic Cummings and Simon Case.

Stuart Glassborow, deputy principal private secretary to the prime minister, gave a speech.

The second part took place from around 7.40pm in the waiting room area outside the cabinet secretary’s private office in 70 Whitehall with “alcohol, food and music”.

The event lasted for a number of hours during which “there was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals”.

“One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals.”

The event broke up in stages with the last leaving at 3am the following morning after tidying up.

19 June 2020: A gathering in the Cabinet room in No 10 Downing Street on the prime minister’s birthday

Police fines issued? Yes

This was the gathering in the Cabinet Room in Number 10 at which Mr Johnson was presented with a birthday cake. The prime minister, his wife Carrie and the chancellor were among those who were fined by the Met Police in relation to this event.

The offence identified by the force was a breach of restrictions on participating in an indoor gathering consisting of two or more people.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

“Food, alcohol and soft drinks were provided, having been organised in advance that morning. The event lasted around 20-30 minutes,” it stated.

The prime minister was not aware of this event in advance and it did not form part of his official diary for the day.

Starting at around 2.20pm, those attending “consumed food and drink, and some drank alcohol”.

13 November 2020: A gathering in the No 10 flat

Police fines issued? Not clear

Mr Johnson’s former special adviser Dominic Cummings had previously claimed that on his last day at Downing Street – during the second national lockdown in England – a party took place inside the prime minister’s private flat. Mr Cummings was pictured that evening leaving Number 10 with a box of his belongings and claims it happened after he left.

The Met Police did issue fines in relation to an event on this day for breaches of the rules around participating in an indoor gathering consisting of two or more people.

It is not clear whether those fines were related to this event or the leaving party for an official – mentioned below.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

In relation to the party in the prime minister’s private flat, the report said: “Following the Metropolitan Police announcement on 19 May 2022 I considered whether or not to conduct any further investigation into this event but concluded it was not appropriate or proportionate to do so.”

13 November 2020: A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser

Police fines issued? Not clear

The Times also claimed that on the same evening a leaving party was held for the prime minister’s outgoing head of communications Lee Cain.

Mr Johnson was reported to have made a speech and Mr Cain was pictured wearing boxing gloves.

Photos of Mr Johnson and several others making a toast, allegedly at the event, emerged days before Ms Gray’s report, prompting questions over why the prime minister was not fined.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

A number of press office staff and media special advisers gathered in the Press Office area of No 10 to mark the departure of Lee Cain.

“The investigation was informed that this was not pre-planned. It did occur at around the time that ‘Wine Time Friday’ would normally be taking place,” the report said.

The prime minister “joined the gathering and made a leaving speech” for Mr Cain. Wine had been provided and those attending, including Mr Johnson, were drinking alcohol.

27 November 2020: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser.”

Police fines issued? No – not investigated by Met

During the second national lockdown, a leaving party was reported to have taken place for Cleo Watson, a former aide of Dominic Cummings.

The prime minister is reported to have made a speech at the gathering.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

It was described as an “impromptu” gathering.

The event took place at around 6pm with around 15 to 20 people there.

The Prime Minister finished a meeting at about 6.20pm and attended to say goodbye before going to another meeting scheduled 25 minutes later.

10 December 2020: A gathering in the Department for Education ahead of the Christmas break

Police fines issued? No – not investigated by Met

The Department for Education confirmed a Christmas party was held inside their building on 10 December when London was under Tier 2 COVID restrictions.

It was attended by then education secretary Gavin Williamson, the Daily Mirror reported at the time.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

Planning began for the event in early December.

On 7 December an email was sent from the secretary of state’s Private Office internally within the Department for Education, inviting around 50 staff to “socially distanced” festive drinks.

Around 20 to 30 staff gathered in the canteen at around 5pm – they were invited to “bring their own bottle”.

Some wine was provided by the secretary of state who thanked staff before leaving shortly afterwards.

15 December 2020: A gathering in No 10 Downing Street for an online Christmas quiz

Police fines issued? No – not investigated by Met

The Sunday Mirror published a photograph related to this event that showed Mr Johnson taking part in an online Christmas quiz.

It showed him flanked by colleagues. The newspaper claimed alcohol was consumed during the quiz, which the prime minister hosted for around 10 or 15 minutes.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

This was attended by No 10 staff who were present in Downing Street and 70 Whitehall and by some who joined from home.

Alcohol and food was available, supplied and paid for by staff attending. The quiz and prize-giving lasted approximately three and a half hours.

The prime minister joined the quiz just before 8pm to read out the questions to one of the rounds for about 12 minutes.

“Some teams in the office gathered close together around laptop screens. Some staff drank alcohol. A No 10 official sent a message on internal No 10 systems referring to ‘drunkenness’ and advising staff to leave No 10 via the back exit,” the report said.

“The No 10 official informed the investigation team that they did this in order to avoid staff being photographed by the press outside.”

17 December 2020: A gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall to hold an online Christmas quiz for the cabinet secretary’s private office

Police fines issued? Not clear

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case had to hand over the role of carrying out investigations into Downing Street parties to Ms Gray after it emerged one had taken place in his office.

Fines were issued by the Met Police for an event on this day, but it is not clear if that was in relation to this event. The fixed penalties were issued for breaches of restrictions on participating in an indoor gathering in the Tier 3 area consisting of two or more people.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

A virtual quiz started at around 5.30pm with approximately five people in the office – but not the cabinet secretary.

There was some food and alcohol available and the quiz lasted around an hour.

After it finished, an online game of Articulate was played by those in the office and those at home for around half an hour.

The cabinet secretary joined those left in the building for “a beer” and after he left his Private Office team remained to chat and finish their drinks and snacks.

17 December 2020: A gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a senior Cabinet Office official

Police fines issued? Not clear

The same evening, leaving drinks took place in the Cabinet Office for the outgoing director-general of the COVID task force Kate Josephs.

Confirming the event took place and offering her apology, Ms Josephs wrote on Twitter: “On the evening of 17 December, I gathered with colleagues that were at work that day, with drinks, in our office in the Cabinet Office, to mark my leaving the civil service.

“I am truly sorry I did this and for the anger that people will feel as a result.”

Fines were issued by the Met Police for an event on this day, but it is not clear if that was in relation to this event. The fixed penalties were issued for breaches of restrictions on participating in an indoor gathering in the Tier 3 area consisting of two or more people.

17 December 2020: A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a No 10 official

Police fines issued? Not clear

It was reported leaving drinks took place at some point in December 2020 for the prime minister’s defence aide Captain Steve Higham.

The date of the event was never confirmed and the Ministry of Defence declined to comment, but it could have taken place on 17 December.

Sky News understands Mr Johnson was “there for a few minutes to thank him for his service”.

Fines were issued by the Met Police for an event on this day, but it is not clear if that was in relation to this event. The fixed penalties were issued for breaches of restrictions on participating in an indoor gathering in the Tier 3 area consisting of two or more people.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

The report said a leaving event for two No 10 officials took place in the Pillared Room. There were speeches, including from the prime minister and senior officials, and alcohol. Approximately 20 people were there.

Following the speeches, those who had joined the event virtually left the meeting. Several of those in the room also left at this point, some others remained for a period of around 45 minutes before heading home or returning to their offices.

A small number (three or four) remained in the Pillared Room for a while longer and then went to the Private Office area where they continued to drink alcohol.

Door logs show at around 12.45am six members of staff from the Cabinet Office went into No 10 and joined those remaining.

The two groups met in the Private Office briefly with them all leaving No 10 and the Cabinet Office by 1.30am.

18 December 2020: A gathering in No 10 Downing Street ahead of the Christmas break

Police fines issued? Yes

A Christmas cheese and wine evening is believed to have taken place inside Number 10 Downing Street on the evening of 18 December when London was in Tier 3 COVID restrictions.

Around 40 staff are thought to have been present, with Secret Santa gifts exchanged and awards handed out by Downing Street’s director of communications and former Daily Mail journalist Jack Doyle.

Sky News understands people stayed until 2am.

It was this event that was joked about during a “fake press conference” given by then-adviser to Boris Johnson, Allegra Stratton. She resigned soon afterwards.

The Met Police issued fines in relation to this event, finding breaches of restrictions on participating in an indoor gathering in the Tier 3 area consisting of two or more people.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

The report described the event as “crowded and noisy” with some people working elsewhere in the No 10 building “heard significant levels of noise” coming from a “party”.

A cleaner who attended the room the next morning noted that there had been red wine spilled on one wall.

No 10 exit logs show a number of members of staff remaining in the office until after midnight.

14 January 2021: A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of two No 10 private secretaries

Police fines issued? Yes

There have been no details released around the events Ms Gray refers to on 14 January in the media or in her report.

The Met Police have issued fines in relation to this event. The force concluded there had been a breach of restrictions on participating in an indoor gathering in the Tier 4 area consisting of two or more people.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

This was a leaving event for two No 10 officials.

Around 15 people were there in person with another 30 joining virtually.

The prime minister was there for around 10 minutes and gave a short speech thanking those leaving before returning to his office.

Following the speeches some remained in the Pillared Room and the report stated “at least some of those present were there beyond 11pm”.

16 April 2021: A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of No 10 official

Police fines issued? Not clear

The Daily Telegraph first reported that two gatherings were held inside Number 10 the evening before the Queen was forced to sit alone at her husband Prince Philip’s funeral.

They took place in separate parts of Downing Street but later came together – when COVID restrictions banned indoor mixing.

The first was a leaving party for the prime minister’s then-head of communications James Slack – now deputy editor-in-chief at The Sun.

Fines were issued by the Met Police for an event on this day, but it is not clear if that was in relation to this event. The force found there were breaches of restrictions on participating in an outdoor gathering in the Step 2 area consisting of more than six people.

16 April 2021: A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of another No 10 official

Police fines issued? Not clear

The other event in Downing Street that evening was a leaving party in honour of one of the prime minister’s official photographers.

Both events are believed to have lasted through to the early hours.

Mr Johnson was not at either event as he was staying at Chequers.

Fines were issued by the Met Police for an event on this day, but it is not clear if that was in relation to this event. The force found there were breaches of restrictions on participating in an outdoor gathering in the Step 2 area consisting of more than six people.

What did the Sue Gray report say?

The first event for James Slack began at around 6.30pm and was attended by around 45 people in both in the office and with a small number online.

The second event began at the same time with around 20 people present.

“Wine was available and music was played from a laptop on top of a printer. A number of those present drank excessively,” the report said.

Later there was “mingling between the two events”.

Shortly before 9.30pm there were more than 20 people present in the garden, with a number of bottles of alcohol.

The report said: “A number of individuals gathered near a child’s swing/slide in the garden, damaging it by leaning on and playing with it.”

At this time, the custodian staff at No 10 continued to lock down the building.

Entry logs show a number of people left No 10 at this point – being urged to use the rear exit.

Some stayed and carried on drinking alcohol until the early hours.

Some left just after midnight with the last leaving after 4am.

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