Johnson reacts to Gray report, pleads "oblivious" to drinking, parties
An inquiry into Johnson's lies is underway.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is insisting that he, the head of the state, was oblivious to the culture of excessive drinking and partying in Downing Street during the lockdown period, despite the damning Sue Gray report which exposes the rules that were broken from governmental officials.
Read more: UK PM Johnson to face 'Partygate' lying probe
The Sue Gray report was published yesterday exposes events, which amount to 15, where officials have spilled red wine on the walls of 10 Downing Street, vomited, got into fights, used the karaoke machine, and continued party activities until 4 am while the British population has been subjected to strict COVID-19 regulations.
In a series of statements, Johnson said that he had only attended "work events" to boost morale. A cabinet minister, Oliver Dowden, simply told the public to "move on."
According to the report, No 10 officials planned several of the events in detail, even when there were warnings against proceedings. The report revealed messages telling wasted staff to leave from the back entrance of Downing Street to avoid being photographed. One message read, “we seem to have got away with” drinks gatherings.
Gray, furthermore, said there were "multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff," demanding Johnson to apologize.
The report concluded: “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 senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture.”
The chair of the House of Commons standards committee, Chris Bryant, said that Johnson had turned No 10 into “a cesspit full of arrogant, entitled narcissists.”
The MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, demanded that Johnson resigns: “I am now unable to give the prime minister the benefit of the doubt and feel it is now in the public interest for him to resign.”
See more: Most of the British public wants Boris Johnson to resign
At least three Conservative MPs submitted letters of no confidence on Wednesday.
Although Johnson told MPs that he took “full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch”, he nonetheless insisted that it never occurred to him that any of the eight gatherings attended were against the rules.
Putting forward an alibi for his attendance of the events, Johnson said: “I believe they were work events, they were part of my job, and that view appears to be substantiated by the fact I wasn’t fined for those events,” Johnson said. “I believe that recognizing achievement and preserving morale are essential duties of leadership.”
Read more: Partygate: New photos reveal Johnson's lies
The House of Commons privileges committee will be initiating an inquiry into Johnson's behavior, particularly regarding whether he misled parliament when he claimed that the COVID-19 regulations were followed at all times.
Hundreds of photographs received by Gray will be handed to those handling the inquiry as part of evidence gathering. In the report, only seven were published.
Scottish leader in the Conservative party, Douglas Ross, commented: “If they reach a conclusion that the prime minister deliberately and intentionally went to the House of Commons to mislead people, then the ministerial code is actually very clear. The expectation is that the prime minister or any minister should stand down."