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By Baroness Smith of Llanfaes
Press releases

Downing Street Staff Criticised For "Lack Of Respect And Poor Treatment" Of Security Officers And Cleaners

3 min read

A union representative has called for Boris Johnson to resign after Downing Street staff were accused of “a lack of respect and poor treatment” towards cleaners and security officers working in Number 10 in a report into lockdown parties by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

In her full and final report into a number of events that took place in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown, which was published on Wednesday afternoon, Gray detailed described an "unacceptable" treatment of cleaning and security staff by those working in Downing Street. 

“I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff,” Gray wrote in the conclusions section of her long-awaited report.

She said some people in Number 10 had witnessed or had been subjected to “behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly”.

On Tuesday evening, a BBC Panorama investigation into partygate featured a Number 10 insider stating that a security guard was once “mocked” when they attempted to stop a lockdown party.

"I remember when a custodian tried to stop it all and he was just shaking his head in this party, being like, 'This shouldn't be happening'," they said. 

"People made fun of him because he was so worked up that this party was happening and it shouldn't be happening." 

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS union, which represents civil and public servants, called for Boris Johnson to resign following the publication of Gray's report. 

“He has consistently shown a failure of leadership,” Serwotka said. "He had no integrity, no moral authority and his position is untenable."

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday afternoon, the Prime Minister apologised to security and cleaning staff for the mistreatment they faced.

“I have been as surprised and disappointed as anyone else in this House as the revelations have unfolded and, frankly, I have been appalled by some of the behaviour, particularly in the treatment of the security and the cleaning staff,” Johnson told MPs.

“I’d like to apologise to those members of staff and I expect anyone who behaved in that way to apologise to them as well,” he added.

In her report, Gray, a senior civil servant, added that she is “reassured” to see that steps have since been taken to raise concerns about behaviours and culture in Downing Street.

“I hope that this will truly embed a culture that welcomes and creates opportunities for challenge and speaking up at all levels,” Gray said.

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