Britain’s political leaders and top officials must “take responsibility” for the culture that has led to numerous lockdown-breaking parties on Downing Street, according to a long-awaited report from a senior civilian official released on Wednesday.
“Government leaders were present at the events I investigated,” the report, compiled by Sue Gray, said.
“The top leadership of the center, both political and official, have to bear the responsibility of this culture.”
Gray’s 60-page report, a top civilian employee of the cabinet office supporting the prime minister and ensuring effective government management, follows months of investigation into the “Partigate” scandal.
A separate police investigation resulted in the fining of 126 people, including 83 by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak.
Johnson initially denied that any lockdown rules were broken on Downing Street when the first allegations surfaced last year.
He has since apologized for his fines and various violations but has refused to heed the call for the resignation of his political opponents and others.
At the conclusion of his series, Gray sees “many of these assemblies and the way they developed did not follow the Covid guidelines at the time”.
“I have noticed that some workers have witnessed or experienced behaviors in the workplace that they felt anxious about but were sometimes unable to pick up properly,” he concluded.
“I was alerted to the lack of respect and multiple instances of ill-treatment of security and cleaning staff. It was unacceptable.”
Top officials, in their 60s, said it was out of their scope to recommend sanctions but reflected the impact of the scandal.
“Many would be disappointed that this kind of behavior happened at the center of government on this scale,” he noted.
“People have a right to expect the highest standards of conduct in such a place, and obviously what happened was less than that.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)