Sue Gray’s report into the Downing Street parties has finally been published – and Twitter exploded.
The senior civil servant was tasked by Boris Johnson to look into the alleged social gatherings said to have taken place in No.10 throughout lockdown.
Her full report was expected to be the tipping point for many Torybackbenchers considering whether to oust the prime minister – but last week, the Metropolitan Police announced they were now investigating the parties too.
This meant Gray could only make “minimal reference” to the gatherings where there may be evidence of a Covid rule breach.
The 12-page report released to the public on Monday was therefore heavily redacted from the original, and has been described as an “update” by Gray.
Still, it included some scathing criticism of the prime minister.
She said the behaviour of those at the parties is “difficult to justify”, there was a “failure of leadership” and “some of the events should not have been allowed” while the “excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate”.
It also revealed that of the 16 gatherings she investigated (more than have been mentioned in the media), only four are not being investigated by the police.
Gray also suggested she has not handed the full report to Johnson just yet, and has more information to come once the police investigation is over.
The prime minister told the Commons that he accepted the reports’ findings in full and apologised.
Here’s how Twitter responded:
Sympathy for Sue Gray...
me to Sue Gray pic.twitter.com/sXbNZ5Az0t— Esther Webber (@estwebber) January 31, 2022
Feels like she's done what she can, and said what she can, to prevent No.10 using the Met police to get itself out of trouble.— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) January 31, 2022
Sue Gray's report in full: pic.twitter.com/BNca5B5mi5— Alexander Brown (@AlexofBrown) January 31, 2022
Frustration there was not more information...
Is that it? #SueGray— John Crace (@JohnJCrace) January 31, 2022
In summary: pic.twitter.com/dchJUJ6Q1P— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) January 31, 2022
Sue Gray report: when you send him three paragraphs and he messages back with a thumbs-up emoji— Kirsty Strickland (@KirstyStricklan) January 31, 2022
If the Sue Gray report says the Sue Gray report is not the Sue Gray report, who am I to argue?— David Aaronovitch (@DAaronovitch) January 31, 2022
One page is a cover sheet, two are blank https://t.co/xBjjaiugp9— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) January 31, 2022
A few are convinced that it will undermine No.10...
Yes, Gray's report lacks detail. But it is damning in its overall conclusion that many of these events should not have taken place and amounted to a failure of leadership.— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) January 31, 2022
The fact almost all are being investigated police is doubly damning.
- parties took place— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) January 31, 2022
- no evidence Boris Johnson was advised that they were lawful
- no justification for them
Sue Gray’s report is clear enough on what matters. When he claimed there were no parties and claimed he was advised no rules were broken the Prime Minister lied.
Sue Gray interim report manages both to condemn No 10 leadership while giving so little detail that it will be impossible for anyone to use it to draw a line and move on.— Chris Smyth (@Smyth_Chris) January 31, 2022
RIP Wine Time Fridays pic.twitter.com/lQb8dRu829— SophiA Smith Galer (@sophiasgaler) January 31, 2022
Sue Gray report verdict: Damning.— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) January 31, 2022
Imagine what the full version might reveal when the censored version, reduced to 12 pages(two blank), criticises poor leadership in Downing Street, Covid law breaking and impossible to justify boozy parties.
Although some others think the opposite...
Hardly a damning indictment of the PM in that Sue Gray report.— Dominique Samuels (@DominiqueTaegon) January 31, 2022
Boris is going nowhere 😂
And here’s the get out clause for PM: “There is significant learning to be drawn from these events which must be addressed immediately across government. This does not need to wait for the police investigations to be concluded.” Ban alcohol, fire people, say sorry, lessons learnt— Emily Sheffield (@emilysheffield) January 31, 2022
.@BorisJohnsonpic.twitter.com/7nCrPunMrz— Daniel (@sillyolddaniel) January 31, 2022
Others just expressed plain shock at the findings...
This report, however strangled it is by the Met, is still a shocker.— Shelagh Fogarty 💚 (@ShelaghFogarty) January 31, 2022
Substandard leaders, 12 of 16 gatherings require police investigation, alcohol abuse. At Number 10.
The prime minister is under criminal investigation for multiple breaches of his own Covid laws— Marina Hyde (@MarinaHyde) January 31, 2022
Sue Gray's first public comment could scarcely have been more damning, and she was barely able to state anything.— Harry Lambert (@harrytlambert) January 31, 2022
....and then there are the people who have remembered this is only a small fraction of the information Gray gathered.
7) This isn't it. No10 wanted this to be a a full stop, it's actually a massive ellipsis. SG makes it clear she isn't done and has more evidence. Impossible for No 10 to draw a line. PM probably has some time. But the cost is the sword of Damocles is hanging and is threatening.— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) January 31, 2022
Police are investigating *12* parties. Sue Gray's report does not draw a line under anything for Boris Johnson. It raises more questions than answers.— Rachel Wearmouth (@REWearmouth) January 31, 2022
Sue Gray releasing her report bit by bit, in magazine format with adverts on the telly: “Month by month, the Sue Gray Report will grow into a fascinating encyclopaedia of government law-breaking for you and all your family. This attractive binder free with Issue One now…”— John O’Farrell (@mrjohnofarrell) January 31, 2022