Partygate: Sue Gray reports that Boris Johnson is about to hold a press conference

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister continues to fight for his political life after a long-awaited report on lockdown violations was released at Downing Street (Image: PA/Getty)

Boris Johnson questions the Sue Gray report as he tries to survive the fallout from its devastating results.

The Prime Minister addresses a press conference scheduled after the culture of partying at Downing Street during lockdown was exposed by the long-awaited Inquiry.

It confirms that booze was a regular occurrence at Number 10 when the rest of the country was subject to strict rules, including an incident that resulted in a staff member falling ill and two others getting into a fight.

While organizing a drinks night, a special adviser urged a senior figure to remind staff that they will not be seen by cameras “walking around waving bottles of wine” following a Covid-19 press conference elsewhere in the building.

Regular “wine time Fridays” were held and there were “several instances” of disrespectful behavior towards cleaning and security staff.

The Prime Minister says he personally apologized to workers at Downing Street this afternoon.

The Gray Report concludes that “top leadership at the centre, both political and official, must take responsibility for this culture”.

Mr Johnson choreographed a day of performances to limit the damage in the eyes of two groups: the voting public and his backbenchers.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures at 10 Downing Street during a meeting on the departure of a special adviser in London, Britain November 13, 2020 in this image, taken from the report by official Sue Gray published on May 25, 2022. Sue Gray Report / gov .uk/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.

The reports include images of the Prime Minister toasting in a room full of alcohol on November 13, 2020 (Image: Reuters)

He will address Conservative MPs in a private meeting of the 1922 committee tonight and hopes to be able to do enough to avoid crossing the threshold of MPs calling for a leadership election.

He faces an even tougher battle with the electorate: a quick poll conducted by YouGov this afternoon found that 59% of voters think the prime minister should step down, while just 30% think he should stay in office.

Almost three quarters of all voters believe Mr Johnson “knowingly lied about breaking lockdown rules”, including 51% of Tories.

The press conference follows another gory appearance in the House of Commons for the Prime Minister, in which he apologized for mistakes and partially corrected the recordings for his earlier claim that the rules were being followed.

The Prime Minister remains under investigation for potentially misleading Parliament, an offense traditionally viewed as a matter of resignation for ministers.

Mr Johnson said he “believed” he was telling the truth when he said MPs’ instructions had not been broken in Number 10, but added: “… this was clearly not the case at some of those gatherings after I left was, and at other meetings when I wasn’t even in the building’.


The Prime Minister is still facing an inquiry into whether he lied to Parliament and his own backbenchers could still crack down on him (Image: AP)

Mr Johnson continued: ‘So I would like to correct the record, take this opportunity not to absolve myself in any way of responsibility – which I accept and always have accepted – but simply explain why I have spoken the way I have in this House.’

Responding to the House of Commons findings, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Number 10 symbolizes the principles of public life in this country. Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, Leadership.

“But who could read this report and seriously believe that the Prime Minister has upheld those standards?”

Chris Bryant, the head of Parliament’s Standards Watchdog, accused the Prime Minister of turning Downing Street into a “cesspool full of arrogant, justified narcissists”.

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Justin Scacco

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