Met Police asks Sue Gray to make 'minimal reference' to parties under investigation

The force has asked for details to be left out "to avoid prejudice to our investigation"
Boris Johnson and Met Police chief Cressida Dick. Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

By Eleanor Langford

28 Jan 2022

The Metropolitan Police has stated it has asked senior civil servant Sue Gray to make “minimal reference” to events investigated by the force in her report into lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street.

In a statement, the force said it had not asked for “any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed”.

“We have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation,” it added.

It comes as the government awaits the much-anticipated report from Gray, the publication of which was delayed after Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced that there would be an investigation into claims that a number of parties were held in at No.10 and other government buildings during lockdown.

Dick told the London Assembly that the decision to pursue the allegations, despite previous claims they would not be looked into, came as a result of “the information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team” and “my office's own assessment”. 

Boris Johnson has repeatedly insisted that Gray’s report will be published “in full” and that he has “absolutely not” sought to delay its publication

On Wednesday, Labour leader Keir Starmer pressed the prime minister on whether the Met investigation would mean that the government would be unable to prove a copy “in the library of the House of Commons” as previously promised.

He continued: "His spokesperson has repeatedly stated, that means the full report, not parts of the report, not a summary of the report, not an edited copy. So, can the prime minister confirm that he will publish the full Sue Gray report as he receives it?"

Johnson replied that he will do “exactly what I said” and that "we've got to leave the report to the independent investigator."

The full report was due to be published on Wednesday, but is now expected to be delayed until early next week. 

The PM has faced significant backlash following the latest party revelations and the Met police investigation.

He has reportedly deployed a “shadow whipping” operation in a bid to get backbench MPs back on side, amid fears that many may have submitted letters of no confidence to the 1922 backbench business committee. 

And last week, the chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee said he had been told ministers, special advisers and staff at No.10 had sought to blackmail and intimidate MPs to stop them from trying to force the prime minister out of office.

William Wragg, a senior Conservative MP, gave evidence to the Met after saying in a PACAC evidence session that MPs were being threatened with losing constituency funding or finding “embarrassing” stories about themselves in the press if they backed a vote of confidence in Boris Johnson over the Partygate scandal.

Eleanor Langford is a reporter for CSW's sister title PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared.

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