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Report goes easy on Boris, but he still has his party to worry ...

World

Report goes easy on Boris, but he still has his party to worry about

The central choice before the Tories remains: accept their leader as he is or look for a replacement

Therese Raphael

After weeks of waiting, there was no damning Sue Gray report. Instead, the senior civil servant released a short update on her investigation into the Downing Street parties that have dominated British news since the start of the year. But the lack of chapter and verse hardly means Prime Minister Boris Johnson is off the hook.  

The non-report was no real surprise. Gray’s hands were tied when the police decided to conduct an investigation of their own and barred her from prejudicing their findings by publishing a detailed report. Despite interviewing more than 70 witnesses and gathering hundreds of WhatsApp messages and images, she could only issue some broad conclusions. Eventually, however, the report will come out in full and Tory MPs will have to decide on a threshold for probity in public office. The fate of the prime minister ultimately rests in their hands.

Gray examined 16 different gatherings on dates between May 2020 and April 2021, a time when Britain was under various lockdown restrictions that meant people had to refrain from seeing loved ones. What she found seems to have left her unimpressed. They “represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of government, but also of [sic] the standards expected of the entire British population at the time”, she writes...

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