Boris Johnson announcement: key points from UK PM’s statement today as Sue Gray inquiry report published

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Boris Johnson said he “accepted” the findings by Sue Gray and vowed to make changes to No 10 and the Cabinet Office

Boris Johnson has apologised after Sue Gray’s report criticised “failures of leadership and judgment” over lockdown-breaking parties held in Downing Street.

He told the House of Commons that he would make changes to the way No 10 and the Cabinet Office are run.

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Concluding his statement on the report, Mr Johnson said: “I get it, and I will fix it. I want to say to the people of this country that I know what the issue is.”

Labour MPs shouted back: “You.”

However, he repeatedly refused to back calls to publish the full unredacted report from the senior civil servant.

Ms Gray was only able to publish an “update” on the inquiry due to ongoing investigations by the Metropolitan Police.

Here we take a look at what the Prime Minister said about the report and how Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer responded.

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What Boris Johnson said about Sue Gray’s report

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report (PA)Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report (PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report (PA) | PA

Mr Johnson insisted he was “making changes” to Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, including by creating an Office of the Prime Minister with a permanent secretary to lead No 10.

Mr Johnson said: “We are making changes now to the way Downing Street and the Cabinet Office run so that we can get on with the job that I was elected to do and the job that this Government was elected to do”.

He added: “First it is time to sort out what Sue Gray rightly calls the fragmented and complicated leadership structures of Downing Street which she says have not evolved sufficiently to meet the demands of the expansion of Number 10 and we will do that, including by creating an Office of the Prime Minister with a permanent secretary to lead Number 10.

“Second it is clear from Sue Gray’s report that it is time not just to review the civil service and special adviser codes of conduct wherever necessary, to ensure that they take account of Sue Gray’s recommendations, but also to make sure that those codes are properly enforced.

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“And third I will be saying more in the coming days about the steps we will take to improve the Number 10 operation and the work of the Cabinet Office, to strengthen cabinet government and to improve the vital connection between Number 10 and parliament.”

What Sir Keir Starmer said

Sir Keir urged the Prime Minister to publish Sue Gray’s report in full.

However, he insisted it is already clear that what she has disclosed so far is “the most damning conclusion possible”.

Sir Keir told the House of Commons: “The Prime Minister repeatedly assured the House that the guidance was followed and the rules were followed.

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“But we now know that 12 cases have breached the threshold for criminal investigation, which I remind the House means that there is evidence of serious and flagrant breaches of lockdown, including the party on May 20 2020, which we know the Prime Minister attended, and the party on November 13 2020 in the Prime Minister’s flat.

“There can be no doubt that the Prime Minister himself is now subject to criminal investigation. The Prime Minister must keep his promise to publish Sue Gray’s report in full when it is available, but it is already clear what the report disclosed is the most damning conclusion possible.”

What else was said in the House of Commons?

While former Cabinet minister and Tory MP Andrew Mitchell told Mr Johnson he “no longer enjoys my support”.

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Senior Conservatives including former chief whip Mark Harper joined Sir Keir in calling for a full Gray inquiry to be published.

But Mr Johnson batted away calls by telling MPs they must await the police inquiry, a move that Tory backbencher Tobias Ellwood indicated may threaten to drain support further when he tweeted “if the PM fails to publish the report in full then he will no longer have my support”.

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