(This file has been updated throughout with new details.) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized Monday after an inquiry concluded that Downing Street parties while Britain was in lockdown represented a “serious failure” of judgment. But Johnson brushed off calls to quit over the “partygate” scandal, promising to reform the way his office is run and insisting that he and his government can be trusted, per the AP. "I get it, and I will fix it," he said in Parliament after senior civil servant Sue Gray published interim findings on several gatherings in 2020 and 2021 while the UK was under government-imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"Failures of leadership and judgment" allowed events to occur that “should not have been allowed to take place," wrote Gray. “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behavior surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify." Gray's glimpse inside a 10 Downing St. marked by excessive alcohol consumption and staff afraid to speak out about workplace problems are a blow to Johnson, despite the fact that Gray's conclusions relate to just four of the 16 events she investigated.
Her findings on 12 others have been withheld at the request of the police, who last week launched a criminal investigation into the most serious alleged breaches of coronavirus rules. The force said Monday that it would be interviewing party attendees and looking at more than 300 photos and over 500 pages of documents it had received from Gray's team. Among the events under police investigation are a June 2020 birthday party for Johnson in Downing Street and two gatherings held on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021—a funeral at which the widowed Queen Elizabeth II had to sit alone.
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