CIVIL servant Sue Gray’s highly anticipated report into Downing Street parties held while Covid restrictions were in place has finally been published.

The 12-page document set out the allegations against the Prime Minister and Downing Street officials and said the behaviour surrounding the gatherings is "difficult to justify" whilst the rest of the country lived under strict pandemic rules.

It adds that there was a "serious failure" to observe the standards expected of those working in government, and also the British public, at the time.

READ MORE: Liveblog - Sue Gray report published as Boris Johnson to give statement

The document also states that government staff felt unable to raise concerns over behaviour they witnessed at work.

And, the Metropolitan Police are investigating 12 gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall, the report suggests.

The gathering on May 15, where the PM and others were pictured drinking wine in the Downing Street garden, will not be investigated, according to the report.

There was "too little thought" given to what was happening across the country - such as the appropriateness of the gatherings, public health risks and how they would appear to the public - Gray said.

In a scathing note, she added that there were "failures of leadership and judgement" by Number 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.

It said: “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify.

“At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time.

The National:

“At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public."

It continued: "Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. 

"Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.

"The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.

"Steps must be taken to ensure that every Government Department has a clear and robust policy in place covering the consumption of alcohol in the workplace."

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The report also discussed whether the use of the Downing Street garden was appropriate during lockdown.

Gray states that it was used as an "extension of the workplace" as it was more Covid secure being outside.

The report says: "This was a sensible measure that staff appreciated, but the garden was also used for gatherings without clear authorisation or oversight.

"This was not appropriate.

"Any official access to the space, including for meetings, should be by invitation only and in a controlled environment."

Gray also adds that government staff who wanted to "raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work" felt as if they could not.

The National:

The report suggests the Met are investigating gatherings across eight different dates

The report said: "No member of staff should feel unable to report or challenge poor conduct where they witness it. There should be easier ways for staff to raise such concerns informally, outside of the line management chain."

The report findings also said that the number of staff working in Number 10 has "steadily increased" in recent years and is now closer to the size of a government department than a PM's office, but that the structures to support this have not "evolved" at the same time.

It states: "The leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability.

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"Too much responsibility and expectation is placed on the senior official whose principal function is the direct support of the Prime Minister. This should be addressed as a matter of priority."

The report concludes that a number of gatherings "should not have been allowed to take place or develop in the way that they did".

It continued: "There is significant learning to be drawn from these events which must be addressed immediately across Government. This does not need to wait for the police
investigations to be concluded."

The Prime Minister is due to give a statement to the House of Commons at 3.30pm, followed by a meeting with all parliamentary Tory MPs at 6.30pm.

For the latest updates, follow our live blog here.