Johnson waits to face MPs after Gray’s report on No 10 matches was delayed

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Boris Johnson could still face MPs over a long-awaited report on the No 10 matches before the week is out, a cabinet minister has suggested, as No 10 braced for the results of the inquiry that could determine the future prime minister.

A report by Senior Official Sue Gray was expected to be delivered to Downing Street on Wednesday, but reports suggested the final document was still being pored over overnight.

Conservative MPs waited until the report’s release to pass judgment on their leader over multiple alleged matches at No 10 and Whitehall during coronavirus restrictions.

It’s unclear what the report has uncovered, but an indication of how damaging it could be to the government came when Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick announced that a police investigation, based in part on evidence, was underway. obtained by Grey’s research.

There was speculation that after the report was not delivered on Wednesday, MPs and the public may have to wait until after the weekend for its publication, as Johnson had promised to address the House of Commons shortly after its publication. .

There were suggestions that because Thursday is Holocaust Remembrance Day and many MPs returned to their constituencies from Thursday afternoon, No. 10 could postpone publication of the report once it has been received.

However, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the findings would be important enough to bring to the House immediately.

He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “Well, as Leader of the House, ministers ask for statements through the leader’s office, and it is absolutely true that I have advised against statements on Holocaust Remembrance Day because there are a discussion about it.

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Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

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“But this issue is of such importance that I think MPs would want to have a statement as soon as the report is available, and on days when the House is sitting, MPs have priority to the House, even if they have other arrangements. first, the House comes first for members of parliament.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told ITV’s Peston: “I read it could be the end of the week, but as you say it could be early next week. Let’s wait and see.”

Earlier, during Prime Minister Questions, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested that Johnson had misled Parliament over the Downing Street parties, something that would normally require a minister to resign.

Asked if he would resign, the prime minister said: “No.”

Johnson responded, “Of course he wants me out of the way, he does, and of course I don’t deny it, for all sorts of reasons, a lot of people might want me out of the way.”

Rees-Mogg said Johnson wouldn’t have to step aside even if police interviewed him in their investigation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson rides in the back seat of a government car (PA)

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Speaking on Channel 4 News, Mr Rees-Mogg said “that would not be a matter of resignation, because people are innocent in this country until proven guilty.”

But if the outcome of the Gray report is significantly damaging, Johnson could face a revolt from his own MPs, who may choose to call for a no-confidence vote.

The Daily Mail reported that the Conservatives were urging the prime minister to scrap a planned increase in national insurance to win back their support.

The Commons Treasury Committee warned in a report released Thursday that rising national insurance contributions from employers would contribute to higher inflation.

Bolton North East Conservative MP Mark Logan said while Johnson had his support, a reset was needed.

He told Sky News: “There has to be a big change. There has to be a change of mind with the Prime Minister, there has to be a change of focus and a complete change in the infrastructure around the Prime Minister.”

Sue Gray (Gov.uk/PA)

(PA Media)

Kwarteng, meanwhile, denied reports that he was against increasing national insurance, telling Peston: “We have an established cabinet position.”

He added: “We are all committed to increasing national insurance because that is the best way … to fund the huge amounts of money that we need to make sure we eliminate the coronavirus backlog in the NHS, and also, we can put our social care (health and social care) on a good basis”.

When the Gray report is released, sources close to the investigative team expect it to be released in full, though it is ultimately a matter for Johnson to decide.

Downing Street said it “intends” to publish the report in the format Johnson receives it.

“It is simply a reflection of the fact that we have not received the findings and we do not know their format, so our intention remains to publish it as received,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

Labor could use parliamentary procedures in an attempt to force the full Gray report if Johnson does not publish it.

That could take the form of a “humble speech”, effectively a message to the Queen demanding the publication of documents.

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www.independent.co.uk

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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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