Theresa May launched a withering broadside against Boris Johnson in the House of Commons, as the fallout from Sue Gray’s report gripped Westminster.
Gray’s report was published on Monday afternoon, but details on her findings are being withheld while the Metropolitan Police is investigating some of the allegations.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, May – whose downfall Johnson was instrumental in – said: “The Covid regulations imposed significant restrictions on the freedoms of members of the public.
“They had a right to expect the prime minister to have read the rules, to understand the meaning of the rules and indeed those around him to have done so too and to set an example in following those rules.”
She added: “What the Gray report does show is that No 10 Downing Street was not observing the regulations they had imposed on members of the public.
“So either my Right Honourable Friend had not read the rules and didn’t understand what they meant and other around him, or they didn’t think that rules applied to No 10, which was it?”
“No”, Boris Johnson replied, “that is not what the Gray report says. “I suggest that she waits to see the conclusion of the inquiry,” he added.
SNP leader kicked out of Parliament after lashing out at Johnson
Ian Blackford, leader of the Scottish National Party has also lashed out at Johnson and indeed at the report following its publication.
He said: “We stand here today faced with the systematic decimation of public trust in government and the institution of the state, and at its heart, a prime minister, a prime minister being investigated by the police.
“So here we have it, the long-awaited Sue Gray report. What a farce.”
Blackford labelled the report a “fact-finding exercise with no conclusions” and “with no facts”, before being kicked out of Parliament for suggestion Johnson’s behaviour was intentional.
Police are currently investigating a lockdown-busting party in Boris Johnson’s private Downing Street flat – as well as an alleged birthday party in the Cabinet Room.
Sue Gray report versus Johnson claims
A report produced by senior civil servant Sue Gray catalogued a series of “failures of leadership and judgment” within No 10 and the Cabinet Office while England was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021.
But she was unable to provide meaningful findings because the police were now investigating at least 12 gatherings linked to government properties in Downing Street and Whitehall.
They include a “gathering in the No 10 Downing Street flat” on November 13 2020, the night Johnson’s former aides Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain left their roles.
In December, Johnson told MPs that no “gathering” had taken place on that date.
Questioned in the House of Commons on whether the event took place, the prime minister said: “No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.”