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Live Reporting

Edited by Emma Owen

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye

    And that's it from us for the day. Thanks for joining us.

    Today's writers were Joseph Lee, Jennifer Scott, Richard Morris. Dulcie Lee and Marie Jackson and the editors were Claudia Allen, Emma Owen and Chris Clayton.

  2. Where does all this leave Boris Johnson tonight?

    Chris Mason

    Political editor

    Boris JOhnson

    He apologised, and pointedly went out of his way to explain why he believed he had not knowingly misled the Commons in his previous accounts of what happened.

    This is crucial, because being proven to have intentionally lied to the House would cost him his job.

    There is deep anger and embarrassment among many Conservative MPs at what has happened - they know much of this can't be easily excused or wished away.

    And they have the power, collectively, to decide whether he stays or goes.

    A 17th Tory MP has now publicly declared Boris Johnson should stand down, others have demanded so privately.

    It would take 54 to trigger a vote of confidence - the vast majority of public critics today are those who've long condemned the behaviour he presided over.

    It'll take some time for views to solidify - and two imminent by-elections might help do that one way or another.

    But tonight, at least, it appears Boris Johnson is safe - for now.

  3. What did we learn today?

    Boris Johnson in Commons

    Thanks for staying with us for our live coverage. We'll be closing this page shortly. But before we go, here's a quick round-up of this very busy day.

    • Sue Gray's report criticised senior leadership in government and outlined a culture of heavy drinking in No 10 during the pandemic. Details emerged of wine spilled down walls, vomiting and partying until 4am
    • Boris Johnson apologised in the Commons for the rule-breaking. He also denied lying to MPs about the parties but admitted it had not been correct when he told Parliament that the rules had been followed at all times
    • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer - who is himself being investigated by police over his own lockdown event - called on Tory MPs to tell Johnson to pack his bags. The Lib Dems and the SNP agreed.
    • Bereaved families also called for him to go, saying he treated them like dirt
    • Conservative backbencher Julian Sturdy added his voice to those calling for Mr Johnson to step down, taking the number of Tory MPs who have publicly said their leader should go to 17
    • At a meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs the prime minister struck an apologetic tone
  4. Reality Check

    The unanswered questions about the Downing Street parties

    Boris Johnson speaking animatedly in the House of Commons chamber

    Sue Gray's report had plenty of vivid detail about what went on in Downing Street, but it still leaves several unanswered questions:

    1. What happened in the Downing Street flat? The Mail on Sunday said there was a "victory party" to mark Dominic Cummings leaving the government on 13 November 2020, with Abba being played loudly. Sue Gray's report said she stopped her inquiry into this event after the police began investigating. Asked by an MP to give further details on what went on, Mr Johnson refused.
    2. Did Boris Johnson know about any of the parties? The PM is not mentioned in the report when it talks about the organisation of any of the events. But some of those involved in the messages about them were his closest advisers - did any of them say anything to their boss?
    3. Who were the unidentified people in the garden? The report talks about a number of people appearing in a photograph taken in the Downing Street garden, published by the Guardian. It says: "There is a further group of four individuals sitting at a table on the terrace. It has not been possible to identify these individuals." Who could they be?

    Read the full list of questions here.

  5. The story of the day - in pictures

    Boris Johnson reads Sue Gray's report with his red ministerial box by his side
    Image caption: It was a long day for the prime minister, who received Sue Gray's report shortly after 10:00 this morning, and quickly began poring over its contents in No 10
    Boris Johnson heads to a press conference in Downing Street
    Image caption: Shortly afterwards, he headed to Parliament to face MPs for Prime Minister's Questions at midday
    Boris Johnson makes a speech in the House of Commons
    Image caption: After a typically stormy PMQs session in which Labour focused on the cost of living, the prime minister told MPs he took full responsibility for everything that happened
    The media report on Sue Gray's report in Downing Street
    Image caption: The media camped outside No 10 in the drizzle to report every twist and turn as the day unfolded
    Johnson looks down at the lectern as he answers questions from the press
    Image caption: Johnson later held a press conference in Downing Street. Facing questions from journalists, he denied he was a liar and said it was now his job to "get on and deliver"
    Boris Johnson walks down Downing Street in London after the press conference
    Image caption: After the press conference, the PM headed back to Parliament to face his own backbench MPs, striking an extremely apologetic tone, according to one MP supportive of Johnson. Later still, he held his weekly audience with the Queen
  6. 'I wish I'd taken a fine to be with my dying husband'

    Tony and Sara on their wedding day

    The stories of families kept apart by the government's restrictions during life's toughest times make for difficult reading.

    Sara, who did not want to give her full name, told BBC Radio 5 Live she wished she hadn't followed the rules and taken a fine instead - because she would have given anything to spend more time with her husband.

    She said she'd been "distraught" but had listened to the government's messages and followed the rules.

    "I did and I wish I hadn't," she said. "Neither of my kids could be there. Their last memory of their father was to Facetime him and my last memory is him saying to me 'I'll see you tomorrow morning.'"

    The day of the "bring your own booze" lockdown event in Downing Street on 20 May 2020 was the day Sara, 60, buried her husband.

    Read more about Sara and her family here.

  7. Johnson dismissed alcohol ban in No 10 - report

    We're getting some more details from Boris Johnson's meeting with his Tory backbenchers a little earlier.

    The PM apparently dismissed the idea of an alcohol ban in No 10 after it was brought up during the meeting, a Tory party source told the news agency PA.

    Johnson reportedly told Tory MPs that Britain may not have won the Second World War if there had been an alcohol ban in Downing Street under Winston Churchill.

    It comes after Sue Gray's report found excessive drinking, with staff being sick, and abuse of cleaning and security staff.

  8. PM has audience with the Queen

    The Queen

    Just when we thought it was all over, we're now hearing the prime minister is having his weekly audience with the Queen this evening.

    Boris Johnson will not be apologising to the Queen during their phone call, a Conservative Party source told the PA news agency, with the source instead suggesting he would strike a more upbeat tone as ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.

    The details of their meetings are never made public, however.

    In January, Downing Street apologised to Buckingham Palace for two staff parties in No 10 on the night before Prince Philip's funeral.

    Johnson was not at either party.

  9. 'We need to temper justice with mercy'

    Hadijat Folami, 55, said on balance she wanted Boris Johnson to stay in Downing Street for now.

    "We need exemplary leadership," she said.

    "If you go into the town centre of Bexleyheath you will see all the businesses that are shuttered up and had to close down because they stuck by the lockdown rules.

    "But they should let him finish up his term because we need to temper justice with mercy."

    Hadijat Folami
  10. 'He's taken us for complete mugs'

    Derek Ryan

    Some more views from outside Westminster now, and Derek Ryan, 65, said Boris Johnson should go immediately.

    "I honestly think he and his cronies have taken the country for complete mugs, including the Queen of England.

    "She had the funeral for her husband where she had to sit in the abbey all by herself, isolated, because of the rules and they still continued to have parties and according to the fresh evidence, these parties were going on nearly continuously.

    "I believe he should stand down right now -- I know he won't but I think he should."

    If the prime minister didn't stand down, Mr Ryan said Conservative MPs should "definitely" hold a vote of no confidence.

    "If I was a Tory MP I wouldn't feel safe in my constituency," he said. "If there was an election I wouldn't feel confident I would get in next time because of what has happened."

  11. How has Partygate affected support for the Conservatives?

    Prof Sir John Curtice

    YouGov published some snap polling earlier this afternoon, in which 59% of 2748 people surveyed thought the PM should resign, and 74% thought he knowingly lied about breaking lockdown rules.

    Sir John Curtice, professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, says it confirms the impression other polls have been giving since December - that the public have made up their mind on Partygate.

    Quote Message: "Things haven't got worse for the Conservatives. They haven't plummeted away in the polls since December. But so far, [there's] absolutely no sign that Mr Johnson's attempts... to defend his actions have done anything very much at all to dissuade voters from the view that they came to last December, which was 'Mr Johnson was partying and I'm not sure he's telling the truth'." from Professor Sir John Curtice Politics at Strathclyde University
    Professor Sir John CurticePolitics at Strathclyde University

    Sir John says before Partygate broke, the Conservatives were four points ahead of Labour in the polls.

    Today, they're six points behind. And they've been behind in the polls ever since Partygate broke, he says.

    What would that mean if a general election were held now?

    The Conservatives wouldn't get a majority, Sir John says, however it would by no means necessarily give Labour enough seats for an overall majority.

    That could leave Labour looking for a potential coalition with the Lib Dems or SNP, he says.

    View more on twitter
  12. 'Not all of No 10 was having a rave'

    More from the 1922 Committee meeting, which ended short time ago, and the news agency PA has a source that says Boris Johnson had been keen to emphasise that No 10 was not like a "Saturday night in July in Ibiza". People were actually working extremely hard, he said.

    Mr Johnson is reported to have told Tory MPs he had found the publication of the Sue Gray report "pretty excruciating" and "very sobering".

    The source went on to tell PA that the prime minister hoped Ms Gray's report "set the record straight" and that "not all of No 10 was having a rave" during the Covid pandemic.

  13. Johnson not out of the woods yet, says Drakeford

    Tomos Livingstone

    BBC Wales political correspondent

    The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, says Boris Johnson “is not out of the woods yet”.

    Reacting to the publication of the Sue Gray report, Mr Drakeford told BBC Wales that the Prime Minister still faced a Commons inquiry into whether he lied to Parliament.

    Mr Drakeford said the report showed that parties were going on in Downing Street on “an industrial scale”.

    He added that the report highlighted that the “least powerful people were going to be asked to carry the can”.

  14. PM apologises to cleaners and security - source

    Police officer stands at the door of Number Ten Downing Street (January 2022)

    The matter of the treatment of a Downing Street cleaner and security staff (known as custodians in No 10 parlance - not the police who stand guard outside) during the various parties has been something of a side story today.

    At two events on 16 April 2021, after leaving speeches, chatting and drinking, some staff stayed put even as the building was being locked down for the evening. They were asked to leave by security staff and ended up moving into the No 10 garden.

    And the morning after a Christmas party on 18 December 2020, one cleaner found red wine spilled over a wall and boxes of paper. Staff members had reportedly been drinking excessively.

    In her report, Sue Gray said she'd been made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff.

    "This was unacceptable," she wrote.

    Her comments were raised by several MPs in the Commons. Labour MP Alison McGovern asked whether Johnson had personally apologised to them.

    Replying, Johnson described the abuse as "intolerable" and promised a proper apology.

    At his press conference several hours later, it came up again. This was how Johnson replied that time:

    Video content

    Video caption: PM quizzed on why cleaners were asked to clear up wine and sick

    By the evening, a source had told the BBC Johnson had been around Downing Street personally apologising to the security staff and cleaners.

    Will that be the end of the matter? We'll keep you posted.

  15. 'I wouldn't want anyone else as PM'

    Lynne Hoare, 64, said she and her husband Keith, 65, had stuck by the lockdown rules but they knew lots of others were breaking the rules.

    She said: "I don't really think it's a good thing, what he did, considering what we had to do, obeying the rules, but on the other hand is there anyone else I would rather be prime minister at the moment?

    "Probably not, with the war in Ukraine, so we're quite happy to let it go."

    Keith added: "I wouldn't want anything to change at the minute, unless it was really serious. This has gone on long enough."

    Lynne and Keith Hoare
  16. 'It's a real slap in the face'

    Adam Williams

    A BBC crew has been in Bexleyheath, south east London, today, speaking to people there about their reaction to Sue Gray's report.

    Adam Williams, 46, lost his father to pancreatic cancer last week and said he was furious at the prime minister's response to the Sue Gray report.

    “It’s not acceptable to lie and lie and lie and make out it’s the truth,” he said.

    “My dad died of pancreatic cancer because he couldn’t go out of the house and get checked out - he died very painfully, very slowly.

    “It’s a real slap in the face to be told we didn’t have to abide by rules but everybody else did.

    “My dad did himself no favours by listening to what these people said.”

  17. How did the 1922 Committee meeting go?

    So that's it. The 1922 Committee meeting has ended, and with that, the PM will hope to put the story to rest for the day.

    A source at the meeting has told the BBC that Boris Johnson went around Downing Street today and personally apologised to security staff and cleaners for the treatment they received at the hands of partygoers.

    Another said that the prime minister was "down" and not his "usual bouncy self".

    A different source told the BBC that the meeting had a "very solemn tone". with unity and pulling together being the theme.

    A friend of the prime minister said that “the idea he should pack up at this point is ludicrous”.

  18. How are Tory backbenchers reacting?

    Shailesh Vara, Tory MP for North West Cambridgeshire, says that the police have carried out a "thorough and impartial investigation."

    He echoes the PM in saying: "we now need to draw a line and move on to more pressing domestic and international matters".

    Another Tory MP told the BBC "there's nothing new here," while another wouldn't be drawn, commenting "just catching up... busy week here".

  19. What's happening in the 1922 Committee?

    Vicki Young

    Deputy Political Editor

    Jonathan Gullis - a strong supporter of the PM - has emerged from the 1922 Committee.

    He says Boris Johnson struck the right tone, was “extremely apologetic” and used the words “I’m sorry”.

    He stressed the focus now had to be delivering on the government’s agenda.

    But he was a fan of the PM before he went into the room, and is perhaps not a typical example of the type of MP Boris Johnson needs to ensure he wins over today.

  20. Cleaners and civil service unions criticise PM's 'empty words'

    A worker polishes the door of No 10 Downing Street

    Among the criticisms in the Sue Gray report are details of "multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff" - such as leaving wine stains on the wall for cleaners to deal with.

    Boris Johnson said the episodes were "utterly intolerable", but cleaners' representatives and unions say his words are not enough.

    The PA News agency quoted one member of the PCS union who works in the Cabinet Office saying the apology was "too little, too late" after the PM did nothing to address a long-standing culture of "bullying, harassment and sexism in No 10".

    "His empty words will be no consolation to the hard-working cleaners and security guards who have suffered under his leadership", the staff member says.

    Jim Melvin, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, says it is "appalling and upsetting" to hear how cleaning staff were treated, while the prime minister was publicly praising them for their work maintaining hygiene in the pandemic.

    Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect civil servants' union, says the "appalling behaviour" indicates a "disgraceful culture that ministers allowed to fester at the heart of government during a period of national crisis".

    "It's laughable for the prime minister to pretend he didn't know what was going on and to offer faux outrage and shock at the parties he himself attended," he adds.