What is ‘partygate’?
‘Partygate’ comprises of a series of allegations that a number parties took place across 10 Downing Street and other government buildings over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, which may have been in violation of legal restrictions on gatherings in place at the time.
The media has so far reported on 16 parties which may have taken place. Reports into a drinks gathering in the garden of 10 Downing Street on 20 May 2020 – for which an invite was sent out to around 100 staff by the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds [LINK] – has gained particular media attention. The Prime Minister admits attending but says he “believed implicitly that this was a work event”. Some Conservative MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister since his response to the allegations.
The string of parties is subject to an investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray. She delivered an ‘update’ report on 31 January 2022, which stated that ‘some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify’ and represented ‘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’. It also confirms that the police are investigating 12 events for possible rule-breaking, meaning that for the time being the report is ‘extremely limited’ in what it can say about those gatherings. The government has said it will publish the full report once the Met investigation has concluded.