“I was made aware of a lack of respect and multiple instances of ill-treatment of security and cleaning staff. It was unacceptable,” Gray wrote.
Gray writes that Johnson’s administration needs to “take responsibility” for a culture of “senior leadership at the center” that allows parties to take place.
Despite the gruesome details of people vomiting on walls, fighting in the corridors of Downing Street, and in many cases there is evidence that those inside the building who know what they are doing are wrong, Johnson’s job is not in immediate danger.
With the next general election not scheduled for 2024 and Johnson currently sitting in a huge majority in parliament, it is only his own conservative MPs who can dismiss the prime minister, something that actually lacks the potential numbers or power of any rebels.
The fact that they are stuck with Johnson, whose personal approval rating has sunk since the scandal began last year, is confusing the Conservatives. They are concerned that Johnson has done irreparable damage to his own image in the eyes of most voters who have finally seen “what he really likes”, as a senior Conservative has said. The only thing left to tarnish the rest of the party now is its reputation – something that opinion polls and recent election results have already begun.
“Ever since he took office, a personality bigger than his life has dominated the political agenda, which is a good thing when people see you as ridiculous and affectionate,” said a conservative MP and former cabinet minister. “The problem now is that the country has learned more about what that personality really is, but it’s still so huge that it dwarfs everything else.”
A minister in the current government told CNN, “There is no doubt that his image has changed from a happy-go-lucky Brexit to a law-breaking liar.”
Numerous conservatives who have spoken to CNN agree that the loss of Johnson’s image is uniquely bad for a man who has been in the public eye for so long and has such a well-established strength and weakness.
Rob Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester, said: “We all have friends we know who probably do bad things, but we don’t see them doing bad things, so we can pretend it’s not really bad.”
“When we see the evidence of how bad they really are, it’s amazing but it still hits the gut. Those who support Johnson are doing the same thing to them. Their worst suspicions are being confirmed.”
Speaking in Parliament after the report was released, Johnson said he was “humble” and “learned my lesson,” adding: “I am fully responsible for what happened to my watch.”
But he also reiterated earlier claims that the parties only grew after his departure, stressing that he was “surprised and disappointed” that several drinking-fuel incidents had taken place – even in the same building as his own office and apartment.
And he suggested that the shrinking quarters of government buildings and his staff’s “extremely long time” to respond to the Covid-19 crisis could explain why a number of parties and social events have occurred.
“I briefly attended such gatherings to thank them for their service, which I believe is one of the essential duties of leadership,” Johnson said.
As trivial as it may seem, Johnson has long held the image of Britain’s troubled partner. He had previously been fired for making quotes, and was accused of having an affair with someone else. During the Brexit referendum, he extended the truth beyond recognition. He comes across as useless and unforgiving. Which is great, unless the public stops forgiving you.
Salma Shah, a former Conservative government adviser, said: “He has always been able to escape the accusations of being conservative and out of touch with conservative leaders. Somehow, he has avoided caricatures.”
“Of course, now there is a strict verification that he is in the highest position in the country,” he said. “The downside to the Partigate report is that it really challenges the Boris brand as a popular hilarious character and makes that clich apply to it.”
In the medium term, Conservatives are concerned that Johnson still has two years left in power. “He’s become more and more divided over time. I hope he will at least try to unite the team, but I’m afraid that if his instincts continue to run against him, his tendency is to dig and hit,” said a senior backbencher.
Others point to the difficult moments before Johnson’s premiership when he sent allies to the news channels to protect him, only to make U-turns on government policy and make them look ridiculous.
“Those who are still going to defend him at the party, in the increasingly ridiculous situation, will be affected by the stains that have fallen on the Conservative Party over time,” Ford said.
“If the poll is to be believed, most voters are now convinced that Johnson’s Downing Street is a place where vomiting and spilling alcohol, then rude treatment of cleaners is seen as acceptable behavior. No MP wants to bind. That,” Ford added. .
Earlier, MPs said they would wait for the Gray report before deciding to take action against Johnson. Now, some say they will wait for an investigation to determine if Johnson lied in Parliament.
The government minister who spoke to CNN said they believed the real moment of truth would come in the two special elections scheduled for June 23. “We could lose these two elections to a vastly different opposition, which I think most of us would accept as one. The condemnable assessment of the party under Johnson. At that point, some of us will start thinking about our seats, I doubt.”
In the long run, team insiders will want a postmortem on how Johnson came to power in the first place, as his flaws are widely known across Westminster.
Several current and former advisers who have worked with Johnson in various positions, inside and outside government, have described him as a man with a small fuse and rarely believed he had done anything wrong.
Almost everyone who has worked for Johnson before and has spoken to CNN has described at least one incident in which he reprimanded his junior staff for putting him in a position where he was open to criticism from the media or his political opponents.
A former employee blamed it on Johnson’s preferred obsession. “It’s no wonder he was a media personality before,” they say
“When you’re a columnist, you can make fun of people by saying whatever you want to say. When you run a country and what you do actually affects people, you can’t claim they like everything you do.” Adds ex-staff
Johnson’s Personality Conflict Box Such observations are rarely new. He wrote a column appealing to conservative rights while playing the role of liberal mayor of London. And for a long time, the game worked on both sides.
And indeed, Partigate could mark the end of Johnson’s Plate-Spinning Act. He may stay in power for some time; He can even fight for re-election and win.
But there are very few who believe that he can play the role of a serious statesman during the global epidemic and preside over a culture where your workers organize illegal parties, vomit in government offices and then treat those who remove it rudely. And be universally popular while doing so.