Met Police say it has received new evidence from the Cabinet Office as part of its investigation into possible breaches of Covid regulations at Downing Street.
The force is looking at “a series of events” in Downing Street and Whitehall during the pandemic.
Scotland Yard has asked Sue Gray to make “minimal references” to the parties she is investigating in her report to avoid damaging her investigation.
However, officials said they had not delayed the release of the report.
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The force has not specified which events it is investigating, but reports have suggested it could be as many as eight meetings, according to The Mirror.
At the same time, Sue Gray’s report was expected this week, but the timing was thrown into chaos by the Met’s bombshell announcement of a police investigation on Tuesday.
It is understood that the Whitehall investigation is still ongoing, but Mrs Gray may be forced to decide whether to delay her report or suppress key details.
Opposition MPs criticized the appearance of an “establishment seam” and a “whitewashing of Whitehall”, which could see Boris Johnson reprieved.
The Prime Minister will spend the weekend in retirement from Checkers as he seeks to shore up his battered leadership.
Major Catherine Roper, who heads the Met’s Central Crime Command, said officers would examine the new evidence “to establish whether people who attended the events in question may have broken the rules.”
He added: “They will do so without fear or favor following our normal processes.
“To protect the integrity of the police investigation, as is appropriate in any case, and to be as fair as possible to those subject to it, the Met has asked that minimal reference be made in the Cabinet Office report to the Relevant events.
“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.
“We have not delayed this report and the timing of its publication is a matter for the Cabinet Office investigation team.”
However, some legal figures questioned why the publication of the Whitehall report would harm the police investigation.
Nazir Afzal, former Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West, said on Twitter: “This is absolute nonsense on the part of the Met Police. A purely factual report by Sue Gray cannot prejudice a police investigation.”
“They just have to follow the evidence, of which the report will be part.”
Lead attorney Adam Wagner, an expert on the Covid rules, tweeted: “I’m not a criminal lawyer so maybe I’m missing something.
“How would an actual civil service report on the events the police are investigating ‘harm’ their investigation?”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.