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Sue Gray report: The names of the people who attended Downing Street lockdown parties and who they are

The Met Police has finished its investigation, and the Sue Gray report has now been published in full and now we know the full details of a report about events held at Downing Street. The report has been led by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant. Ms Gray has gathered evidence including 510 images during her own investigation.

The officials who were named as having attended or organised gatherings had until 5pm on Sunday, May 22, to register their objections but it is understood no-one did so. A separate investigation by the Metropolitan Police has also concluded with a total of 126 fines being issued to 83 people, including one to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The Sue Gray report includes a number of names, some of which you will recognise and others you may not have heard of.

Read more : The full Sue Gray report has been released

On the question of names, Sue Gray said in the report: “This has not been easy. It is well established convention that the names of senior civil servants are not routinely withheld in Government disclosures.

“I have broadly followed this convention here, but given the unique circumstances of this investigation I have decided that naming should be only for the most high-ranking individuals who knew about and/or attended an event, as well as those senior civil servants or special advisers who were significant to the organisation of such gatherings, given their wider responsibility for the leadership and culture of the Departments, subject to some limited exceptions based on personal circumstances.

“I have determined that the public interest in reporting adequately on the events within the scope of my investigation in accordance with my terms of reference justifies naming senior individuals involved to this limited extent.”

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister holding a glass in a gathering in No.10 Downing Street on the departure of a special advisor during the firebreak lockdown in England on November 13, 2020
The Prime Minister holding a glass in a gathering in No.10 Downing Street on the departure of a special advisor during the firebreak lockdown in England on November 13, 2020

The Prime Minister received a single fixed penalty notice of £100, reduced to £50 for paying within 14 days. That fine was for a Downing Street lockdown birthday party he attended for nine minutes on June 19, 2020 . The Sue Gray report does say that he was “not aware of the event in advance.”

It does ay those attending included No 10 officials and Mrs. Johnson. The Permanent Secretary for Covid and Pandemic Response, Simon Case, attended for a short period having arrived early for a meeting which was due to take place in the Cabinet room. Those attending consumed food and drink, and some drank alcohol. There are photographs of the event.

The report also said that he brought wine and cheese from his flat for a meeting in the garden of No 10 on May 15, 2020 . The report said that the Prime Minister, Martin Reynolds and Dominic Cummings had been involved in a “lengthy meeting” that had started in the PM’s office, before moving to the garden at around 6pm.

It adds: “The outdoor part of the 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. Martin Reynolds subsequently returned to the office to continue working. The Prime Minister remained in the garden until around 19.20.”

At another event on May 20 , which around 200 had been invited to, the report found that the Prime Minister attended from 6pm for around 30 minutes before returning to his office with Mr Reynolds for a meeting. The investigation also found that he attended a leaving party for his senior advisers Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain on November 13

The report says: “The Prime Minister attended on his way to his Downing Street flat, having left his office at 19.17. He went to the Press Office area, joined the gathering and made a leaving speech for Lee Cain. “Wine had been provided and those attending, including the Prime Minister, were drinking alcohol. There are a number of photographs of the event..”

He was at another leaving do and gave a speech on November 27, 2020, for a special adviser. The report says: “The Prime Minister finished a meeting at 18.19 and then attended the Press Office to say goodbye. He remained a short time, saying a few words of thanks and farewell, before returning to his office for his next meeting that was scheduled for 18.45. The special adviser left the building by 18.58.”

The report then moved on to the virtual quiz hosted by Boris Johnson on December 15, 2020 . The report found that around 120 to 150 joined from home and there around 18 staff in a room at 70 Whitehall.

The Prime Minister joined the quiz at approximately 7.50pm to read out the questions to one of the rounds. This had been agreed in principle in advance and was confirmed on the day.

The report says: “He remained at the event for 12 minutes before returning to his office. There are published photographs of his participation in the event. Food and alcohol was available during the quiz which was purchased by individuals on behalf of their teams. Some teams in the office gathered close together around laptop screens. Some staff drank alcohol.

“A No 10 official sent a message on internal No 10systems referring to drunkenness and advising staff to leave No 10 via the back exit.”

At another leaving do on December 17 , there were speeches, including from the Prime Minister, and alcohol was served. The report found that the PM attended for around 15 minutes, but the report found that some did not leave the event until 1.28am the next day.

At a leaving event on January 7, 2021 , the PM attended for 10 minutes and give a short speech.

Carrie Johnson

The Prime Minister’s wife was also fined for the birthday party for Mr Johnson held in the Cabinet Room during the first lockdown on June 19. After her fine, her spokesperson said: “Mrs Johnson has paid a FPN relating to a gathering on the afternoon of 19 June 2020. Whilst she believed that she was acting in accordance with the rules at the time, Mrs Johnson accepts the Met Police’s findings and apologises unreservedly.”

Rishi Sunak

The Chancellor also paid £50 for the same event. He said he was waiting for a “Covid strategy committee meeting, which was being held in the same room”.

Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak pictured at the Prime Minister's birthday party
Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak pictured at the Prime Minister’s birthday party

Mr Sunak said afterwards, “I can confirm I have received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan Police with regards to a gathering held on June 19 in Downing Street. I offer an unreserved apology. I understand that for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence. I respect the decision that has been made and have paid the fine.

“I know people sacrificed a great deal during Covid, and they will find this situation upsetting. I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry. Like the Prime Minister, I am focused on delivering for the British people at this challenging time.”

The report said the Chancellor was not aware of the birthday event before, but had arrived early for a meeting.

The event lasted between 2..25pm and 2.45pm.

Martin Reynolds

The Prime Minister with Martin Reynolds

Martin Reynolds was appointed Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister in October 2019 and before that was Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Libya.

He was named in the report as having been at an event in the garden of Number 10 on May 15, 2020. He was pictured sitting at a table on the terrace. It said that he, the Prime Minister, and Dominic Cummings had been involved in a “lengthy meeting” that had started in the PM’s office, before moving to the garden at around 6pm.

The report says that the Prime Minister brought cheese and wine from his flat.

It adds: “The outdoor part of the 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. Martin Reynolds subsequently returned to the office to continue working. The Prime Minister remained in the garden until around 19.20.”

The report says that on 20 May 2020 at 11.34am, a scheduler was sent by email on behalf of Mr Reynolds to a number of individuals in the Private Office and to a number of special advisers in No 10 about holding an event for 200+ people.

This is what it said:

The email invitation was sent to a number of group distribution lists, as well as individuals, comprising in total around 200 staff across No 10 Downing Street.

The invitation was also sent to special advisers in the Chancellor’s office and a member of staff in the No 10 Covid-19 Coordination unit. Martin Reynolds also sent a separate email invitation to other senior officials.

The report says: “Some of those who received the original invitation, as well those to whom it was forwarded, accepted the scheduler itself or otherwise emailed to indicate that they would be there.”

It was only the then No 10 Director of Communications, Lee Cain, who had also received the invitation said that he “applauded the gesture” but questioned if the event was a “comms risk in the current environment”.

Lee Cain says he subsequently spoke to Martin Reynolds and advised him that the event should be cancelled. Martin Reynolds told the report that he does not recall any such conversation. Since then, Dominic Cummings also said that he too raised concerns, in writing. “We have not found any documentary evidence of this,” the report said.

The event did go ahead with between 30 and 40 people, Mr Reynolds joined with the PM for around 30 minutes. They then had a meeting, before Mr Reynolds returned to the event.

Simon Case

He has been due to lead the investigation

Simon Case was appointed Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service in September 2020. Before this he was appointed Permanent Secretary at No10, focusing on Covid-19 and the response to the pandemic. He has also served in the Royal Household, having previously been Private Secretary to HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.

The report found that on June 18, 2020, there were more than 25 people at a leaving event with speeches that took place in the Cabinet Room.

The report named Mr Case and Dominic Cummings as having been there.

The report says about the first part of the event: “It began, approximately, between 18.30 to 19.00 and finished before 19.40. Not all those who attended in person stayed for the entirety of this period.

“Others dialled into the event virtually by Zoom. Alcohol was available and Stuart Glassborow, Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, gave a speech.”

Some people involved then moved to the ‘Waiting Room’ outside the Cabinet Secretary’s private office.

Lee Cain

There was a leaving speech and drinks in number 10 for special advisor Lee Cain

The then No 10 Director of Communications did raise concerns about an event on May 20 to which around 200 people had been invited.

Despite this, he did attend for a brief period to “ascertain who was present in the garden”.

There was also a leaving party for him and Dominic Cummings on November 13. The investigation was informed that it was “not pre-planned”, but it did occur at the same time as ‘Wine Time Friday.”

Helen MacNamara

The head of propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office from 2018 to 2020. She went on to become chief policy and corporate affairs officer at the Premier League.

The report heard that at a leaving do on June 18, she provided a karaoke machine which was set up in an office.

It does now say how long she stayed, but does say: “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 9pm and the last member of staff, who stayed to tidy up, leaving at 3.13am.”

Gavin Williamson

The investigation also highlighted an event at the Department of Education on December 10, 2020, where the then Secretary of State wanted to thank staff for their hard work.

The report said that between 20 to 30 staff gathered in the canteen at around 5pm. Staff had been invited to bring their own refreshments, including a suggestion in the invitation that those joining should bring their own bottle.

It says: “At the event there was wine, some of which, along with mince pies, was provided by the Secretary of State and his Private Office. The Secretary of State thanked staff at the event, leaving shortly afterwards to travel back to his constituency. Some people remained in the canteen for a short period. The event lasted around 60 minutes.”

James Slack

There was a leaving do for the former Director of Communications on April 16, 2021. There were actually two different leaving dos that day, and alcohol was available at both, the report says.

The Prime Minister was not in residence that day.

In preparation for Mr Slack’s leaving party, an invite was sent out to 77 members of staff in No10, including the Prime Minister’s Private Office

The report said the event started at 6.30pm and adds: “It began with speeches in the Press Office. He wished to thank his team members individually and to set out future direction for the team. It lasted for around an hour and there were approximately 45 people in total in attendance both in the office and with a small number online. Those present in person came from across No 10, including senior officials. Some joined the event virtually.

“Wine and beer had been bought by staff and was consumed by some during the speeches. Following the speeches, some staff returned to work but others continued chatting and drinking. They remained for some time and were present when the building was being locked for the evening.”

The group then moved to the garden, where they met with the others from the second leaving event. The report says that around 20 people were there around 9.30pm. A child’s swing was damaged on the night, and logs revealed that some left after midnight, and others between 1.45am and 2.45am. Two members of staff had stayed on, with one leaving at 3.11am and the other at 4.20am.

Kate Josephs

There was a leaving party for the Director General in the Covid Task force on December 17, 2020. It took place in the Cabinet Office in 70 Whitehall and was attended by 20 to 30 officials, including senior officials from No 10 and the Cabinet Office.

The report says: “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.

“There was food and drink available, including crisps, beer and prosecco that had been purchased by individuals attending. Background music was played through a smartphone. Some people left after the speeches.”

But others didn’t, it was reported that Ms Josephs stayed until after midnight to clear up.

James Bowler

The former Principal Private Secretary to Boris Johnson was also named in the report as he attended leaving do on December 17, 2020, for Kate Josephs.

More than 20 staff were said to have been at the event, with Mr Bowler giving a speech. It found he returned to his officer shortly afterwards and had left the building by 8.45pm.

Simon Ridley

The senior advisor was mentioned in the report as being at the leaving part for Kate Josephs on December 17, 2020.. It says he left around 11.30pm.

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