Boundaries Were 'Blurred' In No.10, Cabinet Minister Admits Ahead Of Sue Gray Report

·2 min read
Johnson and Eustice (Photo: Getty and Sky News)
Johnson and Eustice (Photo: Getty and Sky News)

Johnson and Eustice (Photo: Getty and Sky News)

A cabinet minister today admitted that the boundary between work and social activity was “blurred” in No.10 during lockdown.

George Eustice also insisted that Boris Johnson had not lied to parliament over Partygate, ahead of a tough day for the prime minister.

The environment secretary made the comments shortly before the publication of the full report into the scandal by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

It follows a chaotic six months during which the government was engulfed in allegations of lockdown breaches.

That boundary between what was acceptable and what wasn’t got blurred.George Eustice

The scandal saw Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak fined for breaking Covid-19 laws.

Eustice told Times Radio: “Clearly what happened in No 10 is a culture developed where they were working there, it was their place of work, and there were times when they would have a drink at the end of the day.

“That boundary between what was acceptable and what wasn’t got blurred and that was a mistake and Sue Gray highlighted that in her first interim report and I think she is almost certainly going to say more about that when her final report comes out.

“The prime minister himself has accepted that and recognises there were of course failings and therefore there’s got to be some changes to the way the place is run.”

On another media appearance, the cabinet minister was adamant Johnson had not lied to parliament.

“Ministers and politicians are not supposed to knowingly mislead parliament,” the environment secretary told Sky News.

“The prime minister himself has also given a very clear account of his own understanding of all of those events that he attended, that he didn’t regard them as parties, that he didn’t regard them as breaking the rules.

“He has explained that, that was his understanding, and obviously where the police have said there were particular failings on his part, in respect of the birthday party where the cake was brought in, he has acknowledged that and paid that fixed-penalty notice.”

Gray’s report is expected to go to No.10 this morning before it is published on the Cabinet Office website.

Johnson will face Labour leader Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions at midday and he is also expected make a statement to the commons responding to the report.

This evening he is expected to meet with the 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers scheduled at around 5pm.

He is also expected to hold a press conference to address the public about the scandal.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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