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Downing Street

Was the Thick of It a comedy or a documentary series? Sometimes, moments from Armando Ianucci’s political satire come to resemble real life so much that it’s hard to tell.

Since the Sue Gray report was published on Wednesday, people have been returning to a scene from the show which has parallels with one of the most revealing parts of the findings.

The long-awaited report attacked “a serious failure” to abide by the “standards expected of the entire British population” during the Covid pandemic.

It stated that “too little thought” was given “the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public” and that “there were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.”

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However, one of the most telling parts detailed “unacceptable” incidents involving cleaning staff and revealed how one member of them had to scrub red wine from a wall after a raucous Christmas party that violated Covid restrictions.

“I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff – this was unacceptable,” the report said.

Following the development, people have been sharing a clip from The Thick of It which sees an MP going on a foul-mouthed rant at a cleaner inside Downing Street.

The character Ben Swain, played by Justin Edwards, hits out at the cleaner in the clip – which we imagine the Gray report would have had a few things to say about.

Social media users shared the picture in response to the findings, and the series creator Ianucci also posted the footage.

“From Sue Gray’s Report: The Thick of It - Ben gets angry at the cleaner,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s apology for the treatment of Downing Street cleaners and security guards during illegal gatherings is “too little, too late”, a worker has said.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday, the prime minister said rudeness towards staff was “absolutely inexcusable” and that “whoever was responsible” should apologise.

“Frankly, I have been appalled by some of the behaviour, particularly in the treatment of the security and the cleaning staff,” he told MPs.

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