Voices: Booze, fighting and being sick: Has Sue Gray delivered the final nail in the coffin for Boris Johnson?

At last, we have Sue Gray’s report. It would feel a little like Christmas, if it wasn’t so serious; if it hadn’t left vast swathes of the country angry, raging and embittered. For those who lost loved ones to Covid during the pandemic, the publication of the long-awaited and much-anticipated document, alongside photographs which appear to show the prime minister, Boris Johnson, having a whale of a time at a lockdown bash, can bring no real relief – only closure.

We know, now, that Gray – previously a largely-unknown civil servant – thinks little of the leadership of the country when it comes to Partygate. She has criticised No 10, has heaped scathing attack on the “serious failure” to abide by the “standards expected of the entire British population” during the pandemic.

What she is really saying is that those in power have let us down – badly.

Her report went as far to note that one partygoer was sick due to “excessive alcohol consumption” at the clandestine gatherings. There was also a “minor altercation” between two others.

So that’s booze, fighting and being sick – no different from a Saturday night out on the town, in any town in Britain; except that this was lockdown. Most of us were fighting not with others, but with our ourselves and the restrictions we were placed under, overwhelmed by sorrow and loneliness and grief. Many were unable to hold the hands of loved ones dying in hospital.

We now know that “wine” is mentioned 20 times in the report, while “beer” is mentioned four times and “alcohol” 28 times. One person was said to have left one event at 4.20 in the morning – a “proper” party, then, by any stretch of the imagination; and by the estimation of your average university student, I’d hazard. It was also at this event that the child’s swing got broken in the garden of No 10. That particular gathering took place on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. What a way to send off the Duke of Edinburgh.

Gray’s report comes after the Metropolitan Police concluded its own investigation into breaches of the Covid regulations in Downing Street last week, with the force issuing 126 fixed penalty notices. The findings of the inquiry – which includes nine photographs – have now been made public for the first time, and let us not forget what the rest of us were doing while those in government partied.

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On one occasion, at the leaving do for a No 10 official held on 18 June 2020, most of us were feeling pretty solitary. The rules stated that two or more people were banned from meeting indoors at the time, with an exception allowed gatherings that were “reasonably necessary” for “work purposes”. If, on reading Gray’s report – and seeing the snap of the PM holding a wine glass aloft, while hearing the government maintain that it was “for work” – that feels rather like a sick joke, you’re not alone.

The question is, as ever, what will happen now? From bitter experience, we might find ourselves answering: not much. Or, Sue Gray may have just delivered the final nail in the coffin for Boris Johnson – two-thirds (66 per cent) of voters previously believed Boris Johnson should resign if he was heavily criticised in the report.

Now, he has been. What comes next, and whether it will be cause for celebration, remains to be seen.


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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