Everything New in the Sue Gray Report

Guido’s scanning Sue Gray’s document for any new content and will update the article as and when we find any new details.

General findings:

“There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”

“The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time. Steps must be taken to ensure that every Government Department has a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace.”

“The use of the garden at No 10 Downing Street should be primarily for the Prime Minister and the private residents of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.”

Conclusion:

“I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly. I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable.” This one is really bad…

“The gatherings within the scope of this investigation are spread over a 20-month period – a period that has been unique in recent times in terms of the complexity and breadth of the demands on public servants and indeed the general public. The whole of the country rose to the challenge. Ministers, special advisers and the Civil Service, of which I am proud to be a part, were a key and dedicated part of that national effort. However, as I have noted, a number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did. 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.”

Event by event break down:

15 May 2020, ‘Guardian photo leak’:

  • Outdoor meeting lasted for 40 minutes to an hour and they were briefly joined by the Prime Minister’s wife, during which time the photograph was taken
  • The Prime Minister remained in the garden until around 19.20
  • “there is no reason to suggest that this was anything other than a further work meeting.”

20 May 2020, ‘BYOB’

  • No 10 Director declined the invitation and told the investigation that they had raised with either Martin Reynolds or his office that it was not a good idea.
  • Lee Cain emailed back stating “I’m sure it’ll be fine – and I applaud the gesture – but a 200 odd person invitation for drinks in the garden of no 10 is somewhat of a comms risk in the current environment.”
  • PM attended for 30 minutes
  • Drinks and pizza provided
  • Martin Reynolds later texted a SpAd: “Best of luck – a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with)”

18 June 2020, leaving drinks for Helen MacNamara

  • Pre-planned, organised by email.
  • Discussion between Reynolds and Lee Cain, the latter of whom said “not sure how we do it but want to do something”
    • Reynolds: Is it safer to do a larger event indoors but with some people carrying on outside afterwards?
    • Cain: I’m not sure it works at all to be honest, which would be a shame. I don’t see how we can have some kind of party though
  • No 10 later told McNamara “Martin and Stuart would like to do speeches tomorrow when we have your drinks which aren’t drinks”

Second part of the event:

  • The event lasted for a number of hours. There was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals. One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals.
    The event broke up in stages with a few members of staff leaving from around 21.00 and the last member of staff, who stayed to tidy up, leaving at 03.13.

13 November 2020, Lee Cain leaving drinks

  • “The investigation was informed that this was not pre-planned. It did occur at around the time that ‘Wine Time Friday’ would normally be taking place”

Gathering in No. 10 flat:

  • Five SpAds attended, PM joining them at 20.00. “Food and alcohol were available. The discussion carried on later into the evening with attendees leaving at various points.”
  • “The information collected on this gathering is limited as the process of obtaining evidence had only just been commenced when the Metropolitan Police announced their own investigations, which included events on the 13 November 2020. At this point I stopped my investigation, given the need to avoid any prejudice to the police investigation. Following the Metropolitan Police announcement on 19 May 2022 I considered whether or not to conduct any further investigation into this event but concluded it was not appropriate or proportionate to do so.”

17 December 2020, Kate Josephs leaving do

  • The intention was to follow the social distancing guidance by observing a one way system, social distancing and other precautionary measures. This did not happen as those in the room gathered in small groups, and there was also mingling between groups.

18 December 2020, Christmas party

  • 20-45 attendees, including a secret Santa and awards ceremony. 
  • At approximately 19.45 that evening, a panic alarm button was accidentally triggered by a member of staff. The custodians on duty responded, as did one of the police officers on No 10 door duty. They observed a large number of people in the area outside of the main Press Office and one individual giving a speech.
  • A cleaner who attended the room the next morning noted that there had been red wine spilled on one wall and on a number of boxes of photocopier paper.
16 April 2021, James Slack leaving do, eve of Prince Philip funeral.
  • “There were leaving speeches and a presentation. Wine was available and music was played from a laptop on top of a printer. A number of those present drank excessively.”
  • “A number of individuals gathered near a child’s swing/slide in the garden, damaging it by leaning on and playing with it. This was noticed the next morning and reported to No 10 staff.”
  • “Exit logs indicate that some left after midnight and others between 01.45-02.45. Two members of staff stayed later still, with one leaving at 03.11 and the last leaving at 04:20.”
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