The Sue Gray Report: What Were The Findings?

The Sue Gray report into parties at Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown has finally been released. Here are the key findings

A picture of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak at Johnson's lockdown birthday party
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Guess what! I’m procrastinating and you know what that means

Today I’m going to read the full Sue Gray Report so you don’t have to (aren’t I nice?!)

If you want to, you can read the full report here (PDF format)

Pages 1-36 lists out what parties Ms Gray looked at, mentioned that her methodology was released in her January 2022 update so she wouldn’t rehash that in the full report.

It mentions what parties the police were investigating & weren’t looking at.

She lists the various parties that we brought to her attention and how she found out about them (some people dobbed other people in, some were mentioned in emails) and then breaks down each party, what the law was at the time, who was present.

Note that she’s only naming big names and is leaving lower-level people out of the report

She also includes relevant emails including “socially distanced drinks in the garden” because it’s nice weather – the infamous BYOB email.

I won’t list all the parties but if you need a refresher see this article from January 2022.

But I will pick out a few choice passages for you.

Free wine…. how many offices offer that? Let alone in a pandemic?

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 1

Drinks that aren’t drinks…. they knew what they were doing was wrong but did it any way.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 2

These weren’t short gatherings either, some went on for “a couple of hours” at least.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 3

One of the parties wasn’t even a run-of-the mill office get-together. Someone was sick and there was a fight. I don’t know about you but I normally only see that behaviour at a Works Christmas Party, not a leaving do on company premises.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 4

The PMs birthday party is an interesting one. He wasn’t “ambushed by a cake” – it was pre-planned by his staff.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 5

Although apparently they all needed to shout “SURPRISE” at him (and bear in mind, quite often people in Office keep two diaries – See: Jeffrey Archer[1]BBC News: Archer ‘showed fake diary at trial’ (2001).

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 6

But, as it lasted half-an-hour, people came from other departments and some people DRANK BOOZE it’s hardly the break in the work day Johnson made it out to be.

Interestingly the report makes no mention of the Interior decorator being there but it does mention Carrie Johnson.

The report acknowledges that WTF (Wine Time Friday) was a thing when talking about Dominic Cummings leaving party (good riddance party?!)

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 7

This is the party that lead on to Carrie Johnson’s “ABBA Party” as she was super happy that Cummings was leaving, but also apparently interviewing someone for a job at the same time – because we all conduct job interviews at an ABBA themed party[2]MailOnline: Boris Johnson ‘says he didn’t break lockdown law by being at wife Carrie’s ‘Abba party’ because he was there to interview one of her best friends for a … Continue reading.

Handily for both of the Johnsons Ms Gray decided NOT to investigate this further as she started looking into this at the same time the Met investigation started

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Sus if you ask me.

An ABBA party in his private residence would have been a whole different ball game when compared to something in an office that people share.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 8

More free booze (and mince pies) were provided on the 10th December at the Department of Education “socially distanced” Christmas party.

I need to work for the government if they get this amount of free booze.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 9

The virtual Christmas quiz that ended up not being completely virtual was organised by No. 10 “People & Well being group” – not really thinking about the well being of the public, were they?

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 10

They told people not to come into the office, to socially distance if they were working at No. 10, and to leave straight after the quiz was done.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 11

But some didn’t listen to the advice and sat around boozing after the quiz had finished. They were told to leave via the back door so someone in No. 10 obviously knew it was a problem

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 12

17th December and Kate Joseph’s leaving party – all social distancing was ignored despite an email going out telling them it would be a small gathering and to follow guidance.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 13

This is the day when two different leaving parties merged (after they ordered Pizza obvs).

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 14

On the 18th of December, it looks like they didn’t care at all any more about what the guidance or law was and had a proper Christmas party with a Secret Santa and, of course, booze.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 15

This wasn’t a spur of the moment event by the way, they started organising it back on November 27th.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 16

This is the party that they bought the infamous fridge for – apparently everyone chipped in a fiver.

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 17

Some ‘nana triggered a panic alarm which meant the police observed what was going on. Why didn’t the officer report what they saw?

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 18

Of course, it got boozy again – I mean, are we surprised at this point?

Sue Gray Report - Excerpt 19

On the 16th April another two parties merged. Remember this is the day before Prince Phillips funeral.

I bet Boris was annoyed they broke his favourite swing

Sue Gray Report Excerpt 20

Right, so now we’ve laid out some of the drunken debauchery that went on while the majority of us were following the law and not even seeing dying family members we’re now on Page 38 of the Sue Gray Report where she’s laying out her conclusions

Things might be about to get juicy folks!

Point 2. The gatherings were NOT in line with COVID guidance even if you take into consideration people were under a lot of pressure. 83 people breached COVID regulations/guidance.

Point 3. There was a failure of leadership in No. 10 and the cabinet office. Many events shouldn’t have been allowed to go ahead and some junior staff though it was okay as senior people were in attendance at the events. Senior leadership must take responsibility for this culture.

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Point 4. Complicated leadership structures helped confusion but this is now being addressed and clearer lines of leadership are being implements .

Side Note: Read – people are being sacked and we’re having a reshuffle.

Point 5. People felt like they couldn’t speak up. There was a culture of a lack of respect & poor treatment towards cleaning & security staff. They’re implemented a way to raise concerns electronically.

Side Note: Read – whoops, we deleted those emails, sorry.

Point 6. There needs to be a policy about alcohol consumption in the workplace. Guidance has now been issued

Side Note: You shouldn’t have needed a policy in the first place, it’s common sense

Point 7. Disciplinary action is outside the scope of the Sue Gray Report. She hopes that people have learned from this and that it’s important to note that the majority of events attended by juniors were arranged by senior staff.

Point 8. It’s Sue Gray’s position that the events did not reflect a prevailing culture in government and the Civil Service at the time, many other obeyed the rules

Side Note: That’s not the point though is it? Just because the majority behaved doesn’t take away from what this lot did.

Pages 38 to 48 of the Sue Gray Report show photos from the various parties, most of which we’ve seen in the press recently. That’s a lot of sandwiches for only a couple of people…. just sayin’

A picture of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak at Johnson's lockdown birthday party

What Did The Report Conclude?

So, what does the Sue Gray Report conclude?

Not a lot really.

It doesn’t outright lay the blame at Boris Johnson’s feet but it does state that there was a failure of leadership within No. 10 and from that we can infer that the buck stops with Johnson.

Unfortunately he’ll get out of this as the report states he was at these gatherings for limited amounts of time and that he didn’t organise any of them.

Therefore, he can chuck senior No 10. figures under the bus and state that he’s sorted the problem, his hands are technically clean.

I don’t know what people were expecting from the Sue Gray Report, Johnson put several levels of protection between and the goings on.

Things like “Wine Time Friday” were nothing to with Johnson and shows that there was a culture outside of the PMs office that was basically a boozy frat-boy party time.

BUT you could argue that this was HIS office and HIS home and he should have been aware what was going on.

It’s a shame that the Sue Gray Report failed to cover the ABBA/Dominic Cummings leaving party as this would have been the most damaging event for the PM – there was no reason to have people in his private residence when this was against the rules.

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But we’ll never know about that.

While the Sue Gray report was published in full, it doesn’t really contain an information that we haven’t seen reported before – The Mirror basically wrote the Sue Gray Report before she did (and they had more photos too).

So, Teflon Johnson lives on to fight another day, lurching towards his next scandal.

What do we have on our bingo cards? I think it’s going to be more Russian money – Reply and let me know what you think it’ll be

(and let me know if you want me to look into the Russia Report).

Thank you for following this article – shame it wasn’t as explosive as I hoped it would be

This article is based off a Twitter thread first produced on the 25th May 2022. You can view the original thread here. Some elements have been amended to fix spelling mistakes or expand on a topic where Twitter’s 280 character limit may not have been enough to cover the content.

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