Sue Gray provides partygate report to prime minister

UK

Boris Johnson has received Sue Gray’s updated report into lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street and across Whitehall, Sky News understands.

The release of the senior civil servant’s full report had been delayed until the Metropolitan Police finished their investigation into COVID rule-breaking events at the heart of government – named Operation Hillman.

The conclusion of the Met’s separate inquiry saw a total of 83 people receive at least one fixed-penalty notice (FPN) each, for attending get-togethers over eight dates.

Politics hub: Boris Johnson gets Sue Gray report

Overall, the police force issued a total of 126 fixed-penalty notices.

The prime minister received just one fine, for his 56th birthday gathering in June 2020 when indoor mixing was banned, along with his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Reports had suggested the document would feature photographs of illegal gatherings. It is expected to include names of rule breakers.

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George Eustice, the environment secretary, told Sky News on Wednesday that it was likely to be “quite critical”.

About 30 people, including Mr Johnson, have already been contacted by the Cabinet Office to warn them of the contents of the document.

While the Met Police investigation looked at 12 events, Ms Gray’s inquiry covered 16 that took place in 2020 and 2021, when COVID restrictions were in place.

  • 15 May 2020 – “A photograph showing a number of groups in the garden of No 10 Downing Street.”
  • 20 May 2020: “A gathering in the garden of No 10 Downing Street for No 10 staff.”
  • 18 June 2020: “A gathering in the Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a No 10 private secretary.”
  • 19 June 2020: “A gathering in the Cabinet room in No 10 Downing Street on the prime minister’s birthday.”
  • 13 November 2020: “A gathering in the No 10 flat.”
  • 13 November 2020: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser.”
  • 27 November 2020: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser.”
  • 10 December 2020: “A gathering in the Department for Education ahead of the Christmas break.”
  • 15 December 2020: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street for an online Christmas quiz.”
  • 17 December 2020: “A gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall to hold an online Christmas quiz for the Cabinet Secretary’s private office.”
  • 17 December 2020: “A gathering in Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall on the departure of a senior Cabinet Office official.”
  • 17 December 2020: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a No 10 official.”
  • 18 December 2020: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street ahead of the Christmas break.”
  • 14 January 2021: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of two No 10 private secretaries.”
  • 16 April 2021: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of No 10 official.”
  • 16 April 2021: “A gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of another No 10 official.”

An interim version of Ms Gray’s report, published at the start of the year, criticised “failures of leadership and judgement” in Downing Street and said some events should not have “been allowed to take place”.

The force asked that only “minimal reference” be made to events under investigation when Ms Gray provided the 12-page “update” to parliament on 31 January.

She explained at the time that the police investigation had meant she was “extremely limited” in what she could say and that it was “not possible at present to provide a meaningful report”.

Read more:
Sue Gray’s team reject claim she initiated meeting
What is the Sue Gray report and what can we expect from the full findings?

The prime minister will also be investigated by a Commons committee over claims he misled parliament.

Meanwhile, controversy has swirled over a meeting between Ms Gray and the PM ahead of the report’s publication during which, Sky News has been told, Mr Johnson implied that she should consider dropping it.

Number 10 has said that the prime minister did not ask her to drop the report or not proceed with the report.

It comes as new photos emerge of the events in Downing Street – raising questions over the Met’s decision making in particular relating to a leaving do in November 2020, where the PM was pictured with a drink in hand, but for which he did not receive a fine though others did.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has written to the Met’s acting commissioner Sir Stephen House asking for a detailed explanation of the Met’s decision making process.

Mr Eustice said there had been in some cases a “blurring of boundaries” between an “end of the working day” event – and “what became in some cases parties”.

Reports suggest that the prime minister will make a further public apology following the publication of Ms Gray’s report.

But Labour’s shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, James Murray, told Sky News: “I just don’t think there is anything he can say which can undo the damage which he’s done to trust with the British people.”

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