Dominic Raab Admits “Mistakes Were Made” Over Partygate But Says Boris Johnson Has “Learned Lessons”
The police investigation into the alleged social events in Downing Street during lockdown has concluded (Alamy)
The justice secretary Dominic Raab has admitted “mistakes were made” in Downing Street after the police inquiry into lockdown parties concluded with 126 fines.
But he also insisted that “lessons have been learned” after Boris Johnson announced an overhaul to the way Number 10 operates following the conclusion of the Met’s Operation Hillman yesterday.
The end of the police’s involvement means the senior civil servant Sue Gray is now free to conclude her full report into the so-called “partygate” saga.
The BBC said it understands Gray intends to complete her report this weekend, and with Raab pledging that it will be published “as swift as possible” once it arrives in Downing Street, it could be published as soon as early next week.
Johnson said he will come to the House of Commons and take questions on the report, which is expected to criticise the culture of rule-breaking within Downing Street during the pandemic. The House of Commons rises for recess on Thursday.
The PM himself received a single fine for attending a birthday party in the Cabinet room in 2020, but was not issued with any further Fixed Penalty Notices despite allegations he attended several social events which would have breached the coronavirus restrictions of the time.
“I think he’s been clear in relation to things that happened at Number 10 Downing Street, mistakes were made, and lessons have been learned from the interim Sue Gray report,” Raab told BBC Breakfast this morning when asked about Johnson’s response to the finished police investigation, which cost £460,000.
The Cabinet minister said Johnson has “taken a series of actions to overhaul Number 10” with staff changes, and while they await the final report the “government’s getting on with the job”.
Asked if Downing Street was trying to prevent Gray from publishing individual names involved in the social events, he said: "I think that these are matters, who is identified, for Sue Gray and the Met.
"What we have said is that it's right that if there's a minister who has been fined, of course there needs to be transparency around that. I think that's right.”
Yesterday the government confirmed it is creating a streamlined team of officials working for Johnson under the leadership of his new permanent secretary Samantha Jones, who was brought in from the NHS in February, saying it will "enhance the support that is offered to the Prime Minister and to the Cabinet".
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