BRITISH Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is humbled by the report from senior civil servant Sue Gray on the parties held at Downing Street in 2020.
The prime minister spoke on Wednesday after the report was released, adding that he only briefly attended some of the parties and was unaware that they went on for longer than necessary.
“My attendance at these moments, brief as it was, has not been found to be outside the rules. But clearly this was not the case for some of those gatherings after I had left and other gatherings when I was not even in the building,” he said.
Johnson assumed full responsibility for the events, saying he was as “surprised and disappointed as anyone else in this House at the revelations” in the report.
Gray’s report had held senior leadership at Downing Street responsible for partying during the COVID-19 lockdown, adding that most junior staff attended the parties which already had their superiors in attendance.
“While there is no excuse for some of the behaviour set out here it is important to acknowledge that those in the most junior positions attended gatherings at which their seniors were present, or indeed organised,” the report said.
The report summed up Gray’s findings on 16 events in 2020 and 2021, saying a large number of people attended the parties and staff felt unable to raise concerns over the event.
The report also noted that there was excessive alcohol consumption, drunkenness, a fight, and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff.
Although Johnson accepted responsibility for the parties, he said he had only attended to thank staff members so as to “keep morale as high as possible”.
Johnson had come under severe criticism for attending parties in defiance of stringent lockdown restrictions, which were in place in 2020.
Many Members of the Parliament (MPs) in the United Kingdom had called for his resignation, declaring him unfit for office.
Johnson has, however, rejected calls by the constituents to resign and has since been caught up in a fight to secure his political position.