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Drunkenness, vomiting and a scuffle detailed at UK government lockdown parties

Drunkenness, vomiting and a scuffle detailed at UK government lockdown parties

Cabinet room in 10 Downing Street during British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's birthday, in London, on Jun 19, 2020 in this picture obtained from Sue Gray's report published on May 25, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/gov.uk/Sue Gray Report)

LONDON: A scuffle broke out, one attendee was sick and excessive amounts of alcohol were consumed when workers at Downing Street held an event in June 2020, a report into COVID-19 lockdown breaches at the heart of government said on Wednesday (May 25).

The incidents happened at a leaving party on June 18, 2020, that began in the Cabinet Office with the last member of staff leaving at 3.13am the following morning.

At the event, the government's former head of ethics, Helen MacNamara, attended for part of the evening and provided a karaoke machine.

"The event lasted for a number of hours. There was excessive alcohol consumption by some individuals. One individual was sick. There was a minor altercation between two other individuals," the report, compiled by senior civil servant Sue Gray said.

At the time, the rules stated large gatherings were banned to help reduce the spread of coronavirus infections.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak are seen in Cabinet room in 10 Downing Street during Johnson's birthday, in London, on Jun 19, 2020 in this picture obtained from Sue Gray's report published on May 25, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/gov.uk/Sue Gray Report)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures in 10 Downing Street during gathering on the departure of a special adviser, in London, Britain, November 13, 2020 in this picture obtained from civil servant Sue Gray's report published on May 25, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/gov.uk/Sue Gray Report)

At another party with around 45 attendees on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral, the prime minister's son's swing in the garden was broken and the last staff member left Downing Street at 4.20am.

Some drunken staff were encouraged to leave by the rear exit of Number 10, but others "remained in the building and carried on drinking alcohol until the early hours", the report said.

Gray said during the course of her investigation she was made aware of "multiple examples" of "unacceptable" behaviour towards Downing Street security and cleaning staff.

"I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly," the report said.

"I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable."

Source: Reuters/ng

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