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UK party scandal report: Government broke its own Covid rules

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PA Media

The detailed report of the investigation launched in the UK on accusations that the government violated its own rules to prevent the spread of the epidemic during the Covid period was published today. Sue Gray, the senior bureaucrat who conducted the investigation, concluded that the government violated the rules and bans it had set itself, in more than 10 parties and meetings she examined.

In her 60-page report, where she examined 16 different parties and meetings, Sue Gray says that although the officials and consultants worked under extreme pressure during the period under review, there is still evidence that certain approaches and behaviors violated the rules.

Referring to the investigation conducted by the police for the same period, Gray also reminds that 83 people attended parties and meetings that violated Covid rules and bans.

“Many of these events shouldn’t have been allowed,” Gray says, emphasizing the fact that the highest level of political and bureaucratic officials are at the center of these mistakes and that they should take the responsibility.

On the other hand, Gray softens the tone of the accusations in the report, saying that he is pleased that some changes have been made in the structure and administration of the Prime Minister’s Office, which he described as too “fragmented and complex” following the preliminary warnings he made and his general findings earlier.

Gray adds that he has heard many examples of disrespect and lousy treatment towards security and cleaning staff, adding that this is unacceptable and he is assured that action will be taken in this regard.

Saying that another issue he warns about is the establishment of clear rules on the consumption of alcoholic beverages at work, Gray says that clear rules have been notified to all government offices in this regard.

HIGH LEVEL OF RESPONSIBILITY

Sue Gray notes that other authorities should decide what kind of disciplinary process should be applied regarding the faults and mistakes identified in this report.

However, what he especially underlines is that lower level officials go to these meetings where Covid rules are violated because they are organized by their superiors or because they are there too. Gray says there is no doubt that these individuals have learned something from this experience and wishes that this will be taken into account in possible disciplinary processes.

Saying that the public would be uncomfortable witnessing this type of behavior in the focus of the government, Gray emphasizes that the people at the highest level hope that the highest level of people will follow the rules in the most rigorous way, and that what happened is far below these expectations.

PRELIMINARY REPORT AND POLICE INVESTIGATION

Since March 2020, the government of Boris Johnson has implemented criminal social break bans in England and other parts of the United Kingdom, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, in order to slow down the coronavirus epidemic.

However, after numerous photographs leaked to the media from 2021 revealed that members of the government were partying in various expeditions in their offices during the two-year-long covid ban period, the top public official, Simon Case, was first tasked with investigating.

However, when it soon became clear that one of the parties was involved in the arguments in Simon Case’s office, Case withdrew from this mission and was given the same mission to another high-level bureaucrat, Sue Gray.

Sue Gray gave a preliminary report in January of her investigation into accusations that the bans imposed by the government due to the Covid epidemic were violated by multiple government-issued parties again in January and spoke of “leadership failures”.

Gray examined his thesis for the period of May 2020-April 2021. Using the phrase “it is very difficult to justify the behavior at some of these meetings”, he described “the failure to monument by the rules that the British people are expected to abide by in the heart of the government” as a major misconception.

However, the detailed results of this report will be announced after the completion of the criminal investigation by the London Police Department.

PRIME MINISTER JOHNSON AND HIS WIFE ALSO FINED

126 politicians and civil servants, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, were fined in the investigation opened by the London Police Department on the arguments that Covid bans were violated in the Prime Ministry and government offices.

However, in new photos leaked to the media recently, it was seen that Prime Minister Johnson had fun and drank at another party held during the banned period, and it was questioned why the police did not fine the Prime Minister for this violation.

The highest-level official who resigned in relation to these events, which have been called “Partygate” or “Party scandal” in the public until now, was Prime Minister Johnson’s press spokesperson, Allegra Stratton, who was seen laughing and mocking at the criticism about the Covid rules in a recorded meeting.

The opposition accuses Prime Minister Johnson of knowingly misleading the parliament.

WHY IS THE REPORT VALUABLE?

Sue Gray’s report is valuable for Boris Johnson’s political future.

According to the bylaws of the ruling Conservative Party, of which Johnson is chairman, at least 15 percent of the party’s deputies, or 54 in total, must write a letter of disbelief about Johnson to the party delegations in order to elect a new leader to replace the Prime Minister. .

It is not known how many MPs of the party have written such a letter so far, but the latest information from the backstage showed that some MPs would wait for Sue Gray’s report and how the Prime Minister would react to the report and decide accordingly.

For the party, opponents think that once a process of distrust and leadership race is initiated, Johnson’s reinforcement will erode further.

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