Boris Johnson receives Sue Gray report on No 10 lockdown parties

PM ‘sticking’ to his position ahead of heavily-redacted report’s release

Adam Forrest
Monday 31 January 2022 12:27
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Boris Johnson dodges questions on parties ahead of Sue Gray report release

Boris Johnson has been updated by Sue Gray on the results of her investigation into allegations of lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street on Monday.

The senior Cabinet Office official has handed over a heavily-redacted version of her report to No 10 after working to significantly pare it back following a request from the Metropolitan Police.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Sue Gray has provided an update on her investigations to the prime minister.”

The redacted findings will be published on the government website this afternoon, and Mr Johnson will provide a statement in the Commons at 3.30pm after people had the chance to “consider the findings”, Downing Street said.

Mr Johnson spoke briefly with Ms Gray on Sunday ahead of the delivery of her report on lockdown parties, the PM’s official spokesman said. No 10 did not commit to publish a fuller version of her findings in future.

The wording of the Cabinet Office statement suggested that the official wished to publish a longer, fuller version of the results of her inquiry after the Met completes its investigation.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Johnson insisted that he “stick absolutely to what I’ve said in the past” when questioned about his reported denials of any wrongdoing over social gatherings to Conservative MPs.

Ms Gray’s report was thrown into disarray when Scotland Yard last week requested that she makes only “minimal reference” to the events that officers are investigating.

Asked about fears the inquiry will be a “whitewash” because of the changes, Mr Johnson said: “You are going to have to wait and see both what Sue says and of course what the Met says.”

The prime minister was also questioned about reportedly telling MPs privately he thinks he has done nothing wrong.

“You’re going to have to wait and see the outcome of the investigations, but of course I stick absolutely to what I’ve said in the past,” he said during a visit to a freeport in Tilbury, Essex.

Questions have been looming over the future of the PM’s premiership as he awaits the findings of both the Whitehall and police inquiries into claims of lockdown-busting gatherings.

Downing Street came under fire over the partygate scandal again as a senior official who worked in No 10 during the pandemic lashed out at government officials.

Nikki da Costa, who was formerly Mr Johnson’s director of legislative affairs, told The Times that No 10 seemed to have “failed as a collective” to “live by the spirit and the letter of the rules" it was setting.

Meanwhile, Dominic Cummings called his campaign to topple Mr Johnson “an unpleasant but necessary job” like “fixing the drains”, calling him “a complete ****wit”.

The former No 10 adviser told New York magazine that Mr Johnson is obsessed with monuments in his memory “like the Roman emperors” – as he described how it is his “duty” to get rid of him.

However, rebel Tories pushing for the PM’s removal fear that the last-minute police intervention will take the sting out of Ms Gray’s findings and persuade wavering MPs to hold back from submitting letters demanding a vote on his future.

One strong opponent of Mr Johnson’s leadership told The Independent: “If it doesn’t come out in full, I think some will put letters in, but others will say, ‘Let’s kick the can down the road and wait for the police’.”

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