Sue Gray and the Metropolitan Police's refusal to investigate a party in Johnson's own flat will cause accusations of an establishment cover-up, reports Adam Bienkov
Sue Gray’s report does go some way to expose the sheer scale of lawbreaking that took place in Downing Street under Boris Johnson.
Low-paid staff working in the building were also mocked by the partygoers with “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff".
She also suggests that the Prime Minister must ultimately take responsibility for what happened within the walls of his home.
Yet while her assessment did shine some light on what happened in Downing Street during lockdown, there is one large hole in it which calls into question the legitimacy of her entire report.
'Not appropriate' to investigate the Prime Minister
Gray’s refusal to examine the so-called ABBA party that took place in Johnson’s own Downing Street flat on the 13th November 2020 is an extremely worrying omission.
Defending her decision not to look into the event, which was reportedly called in order to celebrate Dominic Cummings’ departure from Downing Street, Gray says that she decided that doing so was “not appropriate or proportionate”.
In doing so Gray joins the Metropolitan Police, who also decided not to investigate Johnson’s attendance at the event.
From the outside this seems impossible to justify. Unlike the event held in the Cabinet room to mark Johnson’s birthday, for which he was fined, it seems impossible to argue that a party held in his own flat, with members of other households in attendance, was somehow a “work event”.
And yet by refusing to even investigate it Gray has joined the Met in giving the Prime Minister an entirely free pass.
This free pass was enough for the Prime Minister to wrongly claim in the House of Commons this afternoon that he had been “vindicated” by Sue Gray and to claim that almost all of the lawbreaking that had taken place in Downing Street had happened while he was not in attendance.
And while Johnson initially claimed to have been deeply "humbled" by the report, he quickly switched to instead claiming that he had been exonerated, before then calling on the Leader of the Opposition to resign instead.
Johnson's fake contrition is entirely unsurprising. The Prime Minister has at no point during this scandal given any indication that he either understands the public outrage about his actions, or genuinely regrets them.
Yet by failing to fully investigate his actions Sue Gray and the Met hace missed what may turn out to have been the last and best opportunity to hold him to account.
And with both the Police, and Gray failing to offer any explanation for their omissions, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the very institutions charged with holding our Prime Minister to account, have instead conspired to let him off.
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