London, Jan 31 (EFE).- An official inquiry released on Monday investigating multiple parties held at Downing Street despite lockdown regulations banning social gatherings says the events should not have taken place and that Boris Johnson and his government were guilty of “failures of leadership and judgment”.
“There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office,” the eagerly awaited report by senior civil servant Sue Gray said.
“Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”
While pointing out that some of these gatherings are being investigated by the police, the report was emphatic in stating that “there is significant learning to be drawn from these events which must be addressed immediately across government. This does not need to wait for the police investigations to be concluded.”
“Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behavior surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify,” Gray said in the 12-page document.
She added that “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.”
The civil servant also pointed out that because of and so as not to interfere with the ongoing police investigation, she was only able to make “minimal reference to the gatherings on the dates they are investigating”.
“Unfortunately, this necessarily means that I am extremely limited in what I can say about those events and it is not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analyzing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather,” she said.
In a speech to the House of Commons shortly after the report was released, Boris Johnson apologized for “the things we simply didn’t get right” and “for the way this matter has been handled.”
“We must look ourselves in the mirror, and we must learn,” Johnson said.
However, the prime minister once again ignored calls from the opposition and some within his own Conservative Party to resign over the matter, pledging instead to make changes to the way Downing Street and the Cabinet Office are run to “sort out what Sue Gray rightly calls the fragmented and complicated leadership structures of Downing Street.”
“I get it, and I will fix it,” he said.
The leader of the opposition Labour Party Keir Starmer said Johnson was “a man without shame” who had made “fools” of the British public.
He called on the Conservatives, some of whom he accused of “fraying the bond of trust between the government and the public, eroding our democracy and the rule of law” for defending Johnson in recent weeks, to “spare the country of a prime minister who is totally unworthy of his responsibilities” and “end this farce” by calling a no-confidence vote. EFE