Downing Street considers which parts of Sue Gray’s report can be published as police announce match investigation


Johnson said he was willing to speak to police after Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed the force had been investigating “potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations” at Downing Street and Whitehall since 2020.

Ms Gray’s report could be delivered to the Prime Minister on Tuesday night, with Mr Johnson having the final say on when the document will be published.

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Downing Street had initially claimed that the report would not be released while the Met Police investigation continued, prompting a furious response from opposition parties who called for full details to be released immediately.

Dame Cressida Dick has confirmed that the Met Police are investigating the Downing Street parties

But after it emerged that Scotland Yard had not objected to any publication, No.10 said it was not trying to block the report, saying Ms Gray’s team were in talks about “what may or may not be published.” “.

the scottish He understands that Johnson could give the green light to release details of the report on Wednesday morning, before facing Sir Keir Starmer in Prime Minister’s Questions.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There are still ongoing discussions between the investigation team and the police.

“I am not aware of those discussions, as I think you will appreciate.

“That still needs to be worked on, both in relation to what may or may not be published and the ongoing work of both the police and the police. [Gray] research.”

The spokesman said “anyone asked will cooperate fully” when asked if Johnson is willing to be interviewed by officers.

Asked if the prime minister believes he hasn’t broken the law, the spokesman said: “I need to be careful about what I say, but I think it’s fair to say he hasn’t.”

One day the prime minister surprised his cabinet by refusing to tell them that the investigation was taking place.

When asked why cabinet ministers were not briefed on the police investigation, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “From what I understand it is important not to preempt a police statement on this kind of issue at any point. .

“That was the judgment that the prime minister made. At the time, it was unclear exactly when the Met would make that statement, and obviously the Prime Minister will continue to discuss any relevant issues with his Cabinet.”

Dame Cressida confirmed that a criminal investigation had been launched, saying that the process was launched after the Cabinet Office investigation team, led by Gray, passed information to the force.

Speaking to the London Assembly crime and police committee, Dame Cressida said: “We have a long-standing and effective working relationship with the Cabinet Office, which has investigative capacity.

“As you well know, they have been conducting an investigation for the last few weeks.

“What I can tell you this morning is that, as a result of the information provided by the Cabinet Office investigative team, and secondly, my officers’ own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that have taken place in Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.”

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Dame Cressida defended her force’s approach to allegations surrounding alleged breaches of coronavirus laws at No.10 and Whitehall.

She said: “We watch without fear or favoritism. We monitor impartially and monitor independently from an operational standpoint.

“I myself have… investigated more politically charged investigations and investigations involving members of the government, members of the civil service and other elected officials, far more than any other senior police officer, I would suggest.

“And I always have and always will do so impartially.”

Dame Cressida said she understood the “deep public concern” about allegations in the media about the parties.

Asked if any officers had raised concerns about the parties, Dame Cressida said police officers at the Downing Street location are focused on “protective security”.

She said: “There are a number of officers stationed around Downing Street and indeed in what we generally call the government security zone.

“They have a very clear role and that is protective security. You will notice that the ones you see are all armed and have a job to do.

“In relation to anything you have seen or heard, done or not done, again I am afraid I am not prepared to comment.

“But I can assure you that we are conducting our investigations and if that is a relevant matter, we will find out.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors, the Met’s Covid-19 lead, will oversee the investigation being carried out by the special investigation team, which works on sensitive and confidential work involving high-profile issues and crimes committed by public officials.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Johnson told MPs that information was being shared “continuously” with the Metropolitan Police.

He told MPs: “A few weeks ago I commissioned an independent investigation into a series of events in Downing Street, in the Cabinet Office and in other departments in Whitehall that may have constituted potential breaches of Covid regulations.

“I welcome the Met’s decision to conduct its own investigation because I believe this will help give the public the clarity it needs and help draw a line on issues.”

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, claimed that the investigation showed that Johnson’s position was “completely untenable”.

He said: “The Prime Minister has admitted he broke the rules, lied to Parliament and is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

“Conservative MPs must finally do the decent thing and remove him from office. If they don’t act, they will destroy the last remnants of public trust in this arrogant and out of touch Conservative government.”

“People in Scotland are staring in horror at the sleaze and corruption that has gripped Westminster.”

Labor Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said her party “welcomed” the inquiry.

She said: “With Boris Johnson’s Downing Street now under police investigation, how on earth can he think he can remain prime minister?

“Millions of people are struggling to pay the bills, but Boris Johnson and his government are too mired in scandal to do anything about it.

“Boris Johnson is a national distraction. Conservative MPs should stop supporting him and he should finally do the right thing and resign.”

The police investigation was announced after Downing Street was forced to admit on Monday that Johnson celebrated his birthday inside number 10 during the first lockdown.

Downing Street admitted that staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room after a meeting, after it was alleged that 30 people attended and shared a cake despite the fact that social mixing inside was prohibited.

MPs raised concerns about political interference in the publication of the Gray report after government sources originally reported that police action would prevent publication of the original report.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said: “In the hours since the Metropolitan Police announced they would belatedly start an investigation into the Downing Street parties, there seemed to be an attempt by Number 10 to claim that this police investigation would be a blockade on Publication of the Sue Gray report.

“Any decision on the release of Sue Gray’s report should be a matter for her team and, if necessary, Parliament, not the prerogative of the Prime Minister she is investigating.

“We cannot simply wait for months for the police investigation to conclude for the basic facts of Johnson’s parties to be exposed in black and white.”

The SNP’s deputy leader of Westminster, Kristen Oswald, warned that the report could not be “left in the long grass”.

She said: “There is nothing to prevent Ms Gray’s report from being published as planned, given that no objection has been raised by the Metropolitan Police.

“Any attempt to block or delay the release of the report is just another regrettable attempt by a prime minister who knows his days in office are numbered.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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