U.K. ‘Partygate’ Report Criticizes ‘Failures of Leadership’

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A major report into allegations of rule-breaking gatherings in Downing Street has found “failures of leadership and judgment” at the top of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

“At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time,” senior civil servant Sue Gray said in her long-awaited report, released on Monday.

While a parallel police investigation means Gray was asked to exclude her conclusions on the most damaging allegations against Johnson and his team, the release of her report still represents a moment of political peril for the Prime Minister. He’s due to speak in the House of Commons later on Monday to address the findings and will later also talk to Tory MPs.

Johnson is trying to draw a line under the steady drip-drip of allegations, dubbed “Partygate” by the U.K. media. They’ve undermined his leadership in recent months, leading some lawmakers within his own ruling Conservatives to talk openly about toppling the Prime Minister and causing his party to plunge in the polls.

Gray since December has been investigating reports of more than a dozen apparently rule-breaking events at Johnson’s office and in other government departments in 2020 and 2021, at a time when gatherings were banned as part of restrictions to tackle COVID-19. She was preparing to release her report last week before London’s Metropolitan Police said they were opening their own investigation into the most serious allegations.

The police on Friday issued a statement saying they’d asked Gray to only make “minimal reference” to the events they’re investigating.

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