Comedian’s spoof Sue Gray report sparks panic in government after it’s mistaken for the real thing

·3-min read

Comedian Joe Lycett sparked “panic” in government after he posted a spoof of Sue Gray’s report into Downing Street parties.

The 33-year-old took to social media on Thursday to share a message from a person claiming to work in Parliament, saying he had caused mayhem among people who believed the report to be real.

The message said: “I work in Parliament for the Conservatives and I think u need to know.

“Your tweet this morning was read as an actual serious leak from Sue Gray’s report.

“U had MP staff literally running around panicking from what it said.

“Panic dialling MPs like we need to discuss this right now

“I can’t believe she used the phrase ‘down it street’”

They added: “Absolutely legendary work well done”

Joe captioned the tweet: “This is an actual series of messages I have received from someone who works for a cabinet minister. Source is verified”

Earlier that day Lycett had tweeted a parody of Ms Gray’s highly anticipated report.

His initial tweet read: “BREAKING: Leaked Sue Gray report reveals shocking abuse of the rules. Hard to see how the PM can cling on after this.”

He then shared a letter with the Cabinet Office letterhead with the following: “A summary of my main findings.

“A culture of Covid 19 regulation rule breaking at Number 10 Downing Street.

“Games were played which were known as ‘Slow Dance’ and ‘Pass the A******’

“A number of WhatsApp groups were established to organise gatherings, which titles included ‘Definitely A Meeting’ and ‘Down It Street’

The fake report continued: “At one party [blank] a senior minister insisted all cabinet ministers get onto a table and perform Pure & Simple by Hear’Say.

“Before one of the gatherings [blank] who worked closely with the PM insisted everyone be tested and was subsequently referred to as ‘Twateral Flow’ by advisors.”

It continued: “A video of the PM’s wife at one party confirms her attendance to which she is heard saying, ‘it could be as few as four and as many as sixty kids’.

“One advisor insisted this report makes clear ‘it is categorically not a breach of the rules to be part of a human centipede if said centipede was formed prior to lockdown’.”

Joe finished the fake report with: “Please forward any queries to my email”

Ms Gray’s report into the “Partygate” scandal has been delayed by police launching a criminal investigation earlier this week.

The senior civil servant has been investigating reports of at least a dozen parties which were held while lockdown restrictions were in place in 2020 and 2021.

It is unlikely that Ms Gray’s report will published on Friday, a Government minister has indicated.

Following his social media stunt Lycett said he was motivated by anger and said the reaction to his tweet felt “fantastic”.

Writing on Twitter he said: “I’m angry right now probably for the same reason many other people are angry.

“In the early stages of lockdown in 2020 my best friend died from cancer.

“But he died, at the start of lockdown, and I wasn’t there because I was following the rules, and we had a tiny insufficient funeral, because we were following the rules, and I drove his kids away from that funeral back to Birmingham without any sort of wake, because we were following the rules, and it felt unnatural and cruel and almost silly, but we did it because we followed the rules.

“So I suppose like thousands of others with their own stories, I’m angry about that.”

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