Met denies delaying release of Sue Gray investigation while officers examine material

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The Metropolitan Police have received the requested material from the Cabinet Office to support the investigation into possible breaches of the lockdown at Downing Street and Whitehall, the force said.

Scotland Yard said officers would now examine the material “without fear or favouritism” to establish whether any rules were broken, adding that it had not delayed the release of Sue Gray’s report.

Commander Catherine Roper, who heads the Met’s Central Specialized Crime Command, said the timing of the document’s release was a Cabinet Office matter.

The PA news agency understands that it is very unlikely that the prime minister will receive a copy of the report on Friday night.

It’s expected to ship to issue 10 shortly, rather than in a matter of weeks or months, and it’s understood that it could be over the weekend or next week.

Downing Street declined to comment on the Met’s statement.

The Cabinet Office had no further comment on when the report would be released.

He said the investigation of Ms. Gray is continuing, there is ongoing contact with the police and the findings will be made public. The department added that it would not make any further speculation about the investigation being carried out by the senior official.

Ms Roper said the force had asked for “minimal reference” to be made in the report to “relevant events”, to “protect the integrity of the police investigation” and to be “as fair as possible to those who are subject to to that.”

“This will only be necessary until these matters are concluded, and is to give detectives the most reliable picture of what transpired in these events. We intend to complete our investigations quickly, fairly and proportionately,” he said.

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“We have not delayed this report and the timing of its publication is a matter for the Cabinet Office investigation team.”

SNP Westminster group leader Ian Blackford tweeted: “No one will accept a Westminster cover-up. If the UK government refuses to publish the full, unredacted report, it will prove, once again, that Westminster is utterly corrupt and hopeless. It won’t save Boris Johnson’s skin. He will only add to the calls for him to leave.”

And the Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, said: “Anything short of the full report would be a Whitehall whitewash not worth the paper it’s written on.”

The Met has previously argued that the restrictions in the Cabinet Office report on “partygate” were necessary to “prevent any harm to our investigation”, indicating that it was watered down or greatly delayed.

Ken Macdonald, former director of public prosecution (DPP), said on Friday that the move seemed “disproportionate” to the “very powerful” public interest in the speedy publication of the report.

Veteran Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale, one of the Conservatives, who called for Mr Johnson’s resignation, described it as a “farce” that could delay a possible challenge to the “lame” prime minister.

Opposition politicians have warned of a “seam” amid growing calls for the official report on possible Covid breaches at Downing Street and the government in general to be published in full, which has the potential to trigger a vote. of distrust in Mr. Johnson.

In its earlier statement on Friday morning, Scotland Yard said: “For the events being investigated by the Met, we asked that a minimum reference be made in the Cabinet Office report.

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“The Met did not request any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed, but we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation. .”

Instead of the statement indicating an escalation of the investigation, the PA News Agency has learned that officers were investigating potential Covid rule violations that may warrant notices of fixed fines, with the Met’s concerns centered on the ability of officers to investigate effectively.

The new statement, issued Friday night, did not mention the term “harm.”

Ms. Roper said that the offenses under investigation, when proven, would normally result in the issuance of a fixed penalty notice.

Sue Gray has been investigating events in Downing Street during the lockdowns (Gov.uk/PA

(PA Media)

“People identified as having potentially breached these regulations will normally be contacted in writing and invited to explain their actions, even if they feel they had a reasonable excuse,” it said.

“After this process, and when there is sufficient evidence that people have broken the rules without a reasonable excuse, the agents will decide whether to apply the measure.

“If the decision is to take enforcement action, a report will be sent to the ACRO Criminal Records Office, which will issue the fixed penalty notice. The recipients can pay the fixed fine and the matter will be considered closed.

“If a recipient disputes the fixed fine notice, then the case will be referred back to the Met, where officers will consider whether to pursue the matter in magistrates’ court.

“As the Commissioner said, we will not be providing ongoing comment, but will continue to update when significant progress is made in the investigation process.”

Sources close to Gray’s investigation previously indicated that the senior official was concerned about releasing a report that lacked some of its key findings.

Officials have not confirmed how many events they are investigating, but reports have suggested it could be as many as eight.

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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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