British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves No. 10 Downing Street on Wednesday to walk to the Houses of Parliament. The Gray report concluded that he and other government officials flouted COVID-19 rules to attend several parties in 2020 and 2021. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo
May 25 (UPI) -- A damning report was released on Wednesday that said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other government officials violated COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021 by having social gatherings in a scandal known as "partygate."
The 60-page report was compiled by civil servant Sue Gray and condemned Johnson and the others for throwing the parties while the restrictions barred the rest of the country from such social gatherings.
The Gray report concluded that, even allowing for stress and challenges that the government officials were under at the time, there was little justification for the boozy parties.
"Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the way in which they developed was not in line with COVID guidance at the time," the report states.
"Even allowing for the extraordinary pressures officials and advisers were under, the factual findings of this report illustrate some attitudes and behaviors inconsistent with that guidance."
"It is also clear, from the outcome of the police investigation, that a large number of individuals (83) who attended these events breached COVID regulations and therefore COVID guidance," it added.
Johnson has attempted to justify his presence at the events and said that many of the violations occurred after he'd left. Gray's report, however, bluntly says that the violations resulted from "failures of leadership and judgment" in johnson's office.
"Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen," the report says. "It is also the case that some of the more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. The senior leadership at the center, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture."
On Wednesday, Johnson told British lawmakers that the "partygate" violations were limited and happened without his knowledge.
"I have been as surprised and disappointed as anyone else in this House as the revelations have unfolded and, frankly, I have been appalled by some of the behavior, particularly in the treatment of the security and the cleaning staff," Johnson said, according to The Guardian.
"And I'd like to apologize to those members of staff and I expect anyone who behaved in that way to apologize to them as well."
Since the first reports of the party violations, Johnson has been widely criticized by members of both the Labor and Conservative parties and faced calls to resign.
"I've made my point and my position very clear to the prime minister: He does not have my support," said Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative Party's chair of the Defense Select Committee, according to The Evening Standard.
"But my question to the prime minister is very clear, on the question of leadership: Can he think of any other prime minister who have allowed such a culture of indiscipline to take place under their watch and if it did would they not have resigned?"
Johnson has so far refused calls to resign.