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Sue Gray news – live: Boris Johnson’s wait for party report goes on as ‘flurry of no-confidence letters’ looms

Findings of Cabinet Office inquiry yet to be presented to PM

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar,Tom Batchelor
Thursday 27 January 2022 11:24
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‘I'd rather be lead by a lawyer than a liar’: MP Russell-Moyle demands Johnson's resignation

The wait continues for Sue Gray’s Partygate findings with Boris Johnson yet to have been handed the full report, after it was revealed that legal checks delayed its publication.

Officials in Westminster are now said to be believe the document may not become public until next week due to a process of “legal scrubbing” currently taking place. This ensures that the final report does not unfairly identify junior staff or cut across the separate investigation by Metropolitan Police.

Ms Gray, the senior civil servant who is leading the Cabinet Office investigation into alleged lockdown-breaching parties at No 10, was given the green light by police to publish her report in full on Tuesday.

With government officials waiting nervously in Westminster, reports suggested plans were afoot by senior backbench Tories to submit letters of no confidence as a “collective” once the report is published.

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Timeline of alleged gatherings across government during Covid restrictions

It has been hard to keep track of all the alleged parties across No 10, Whitehall and at the Conservative Party headquarters, so here is a timeline of what is said to have taken place, and when:

Timeline of alleged gatherings across government during Covid restrictions

Downing Street: Timeline of alleged gatherings across government during Covid restrictions

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 11:24
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Rees-Mogg challenged over Afghan animal evacuation

Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed Labour was focused on “the fripperies and the trivia” after being challenged over the evacuation from Afghanistan of animals for the Nowzad charity (reports PA).

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said emails appeared to suggest Boris Johnson “did intervene and overruled the defence secretary”, asking: “Can the leader of the House explain what happened?”

She added: “This government puts its own self-interest above the national interest, they’ve completely lost any grip and working people are paying the price.”

In his reply, Commons Leader Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The Ministry of Defence got 15,000 people out of Afghanistan in an extraordinary operation, an amazingly successful operation and again the opposition is dealing with the fripperies and with the trivia, not with the really big picture.

“All they care about is cake and animals, whereas we are getting on with the important business of government.”

27 January 2022 11:07
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What happens next in the partygate inquiry?

Boris Johnson’s fate now lies in the hands not of his MPs or the nation’s voters but a little-known civil servant conducting an inquiry behind closed doors into Downing Street parties, writes Andrew Woodcock.

The prime minister has pleaded with MPs to suspend judgement on his actions until the release of Sue Gray’s report.

The tactic bought him time but may prove a double-edged sword in raising expectations that he will comply with any recommendations the Whitehall mandarin makes.

Here is how the next few days are likely to unfold:

Partygate inquiry: What happens next?

Partygate inquiry: What happens next?

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 10:53
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Watch: Thérèse Coffey defends PM on Afghanistan evacuations amid dogs rescue case

Thérèse Coffey defends PM on Afghanistan evacuations amid dogs rescue case
Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 10:38
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UK defence secretary ‘not optimistic’ Russian invasion of Ukraine can be stopped

The UK defence secretary has admitted he is “not optimistic” that Russian president Vladimir Putin can be persuaded against invading Ukraine as the prospect of war between the neighbouring countries grows increasingly likely.

Ben Wallace has travelled to Europe to engage with the leaders there about the crisis and to drum up support for sanctions against the Kremlin as Moscow continues to build up its military presence on the border.

Read the full story:

UK defence secretary ‘not optimistic’ Russian invasion of Ukraine can be stopped

Ben Wallace is in Europe to drum up support for sanctions against the Kremlin

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 10:17
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Boris Johnson seen leaving No 10 for a trip to Wales

Boris Johnson was seen leaving Downing Street this morning as he heads to engagements in North Wales.

The visit suggests he is unlikely to address MPs in the Commons today on the Sue Gray report.

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 09:49
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'Has she been??????’

The wait for the Sue Gray report has spawned Twitter jokes:

And some more serious reflections on the situation:

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 09:33
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Sue Gray’s report has ‘no standing’, says ex-senior officer

Former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent Dal Babu said Sue Gray’s report has “no standing” and is “no different” from a human resources report.

Mr Babu said he is concerned about the delay over a police investigation into whether there were parties in No 10 and Whitehall during the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns.

He told Sky News: “I think the issue around the delay is worrying. I’m not entirely sure why there’s a delay.

“I do investigations into matters since I’ve left the police and when I investigate matters... as soon as there’s any suggestion of criminality, you would then stand back and allow the police to have priority.

“Sue Gray’s report has no standing. She’s a very eminent person, very able, but, in essence, it’s just a report.

“It is not a judge-led inquiry, she doesn’t have any specific powers to call people to give evidence. So her report will be no different to a human resources report.”

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 09:19
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Minister has ‘no idea’ when Sue Gray will deliver party report as wait continues

A Cabinet minister has said she has “no idea” when the Sue Gray inquiry report will be delivered, as the wait for the bombshell document continues.

Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, said she also did not not know why the report was delayed - amid reports that it is being subjected to last-minute “legal scrubbing”.

Here is the full story from our policy correspondent, Jon Stone:

Minister has ‘no idea’ when Sue Gray will deliver party report as wait continues

Thérèse Coffey indicates Cabinet is in the dark over report timing

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 09:07
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Senior Tory says Afghan evacuation emails ‘speak for themselves'

Emails suggesting Government officials believed Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan “speak for themselves”, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee has said.

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he “can’t really comment in any more detail” on the messages, which were released by the committee on Wednesday.

“The emails really speak for themselves and need to be read alongside other evidence,” he said.

Mr Tugendhat added that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had given evidence that there had been “no such order”, and said he believes the minister has “always spoken honestly” on the subject.

“You’ll have to read the emails and see whether you think that there were others who were working around the system - that I can’t answer,” he said.

“But it’s certainly true that the defence secretary has been extremely clear on this and I definitely take him at his word.”

Tom Batchelor27 January 2022 08:53

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