British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized before Parliament Monday following the release of a report concluding that parties held at the prime minister’s official residence during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown represented “serious failures” to observe the standards set by the government.
The report, conducted by senior civil servant Sue Gray, examined a series of gatherings that had been held at No. 10 Downing St. in 2020 and 2021 when much of Britain was under strict pandemic restrictions.
“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,” Gray said in the report.
She also made note of “excessive consumption of alcohol” at the gatherings, which she said “is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.”
Gray said some of the gatherings “should not have been allowed to develop as they did,” and others should not have been held at all. She looked specifically at four gatherings, saying she withheld comment on 12 other events that the metropolitan police were investigating to determine if laws were broken.
In his comments to Parliament, Johnson apologized for “the things we simply didn't get right” and “for the way that this matter has been handled.” He said he understood people’s anger and accepted Gray's findings “in full,” as well as “her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now."
Johnson had previously said that no rules had been broken. He has dismissed calls from lawmakers — even those in his own party — to resign.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.