Partygate: Downing Street revellers thought they'd get away with it but made one big mistake – Susan Morrison

Monday after a Friday office night out was always a delicate moment. Timelines had to be pieced together, pub names recalled and put in order.

Some Downing Street staff failed to behave nicely to the cleaners who cleared up after their lockdown-breaking parties (Picture: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)
Some Downing Street staff failed to behave nicely to the cleaners who cleared up after their lockdown-breaking parties (Picture: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)

Who got left in which toilet. Who started a fight in the Rutland. And who left together… Night-out post-mortems were carried out in hushed whispers over Nescafe in the photocopy rooms and stationery cupboards.

What we needed was a Sue Gray. If you want a woman to carry out an investigation into one, or two, or eight, wild office nights out, then this is the one you want. She’s used to the ways of drunks. She ran a pub in Northern Ireland, for heaven's sake.

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This is a battle-hardened bar keep. I’ll bet this is one landlady who could cope with freshly ditched gal weeping tears of pure Snakebite, a beer-fuelled raging footy fan and middle-aged dame awash with Chardonnay, regret and rage. Probably all at the same time, and all in one family.

Bet Sue didn’t carry out her forensic examination in the stationery cupboard. She probably had an incident room. I’m seeing something like those walls they have in the cop shows, with photos of victims and suspects.

There’s always a snarky assistant, ready with the sarcastic comments as Sue writes important details up on the board. “So, boss, he expects us to believe he didn’t know about the party? When he lives in the house? He claims he got ambushed by a birthday cake? I bet Boris isn’t even his real name.”

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Cue heavy sigh and eye roll of exasperation from Party Inspector Gray. “You’re right, snarky sidekick. Bring Johnson in for questioning.”

Was there a questioning room? Like in Line of Duty? Were the guilty parties forced to confront the evidence of their crime under the Easter Island gaze of Sue and the team?

Were nervy staff and underlings told to look at Evidence Image DSOP/01/131120? Did they recognise that broken swing? Do they know why someone would be fighting in the Rose Garden? Look at Image DSOP/02/131120. It's a body. Who is that, passed out on the sofa?

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Was Sue provoked into bellowing at them in a strong Irish accent: “This red wine, fella, it's up the wall! Jesus, Mary and the wee donkey, this cheap stuff stains!”

That stuff does stain, by the way. Prefer not to say how I know, but I once had to bin an entire outfit following one run-in with a supermarket rioja.

Line of Duty’s Ted Hastings would have reduced Boris to a blubbering wreck. This man made laws, then broke them. Even the Queen sat majestically alone at her own husband's funeral. Mind you, I suppose that isolation had one benefit. She didn’t have to put up with her Prime Minister turning up reeking of last night's bevvy.

Actually, I’m willing to bet the incriminating detail came not from guilty partygoers, but the cleaners. It tells you a lot about our current ruling clowns that they clearly didn’t think to behave nicely to the domestic staff.

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No interview room, no glaring lights, no angry cross examination. Just a chat with a cleaner who had to wash down the walls, mop out the spew and replace the broken swing.

Always be nice to the cleaners. They really do know your dirty business.