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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Boris Johnson Indicates Sue Gray's Downing Street Parties Report Will Be Published In Full

3 min read

The Prime Minister has suggested he will stand by his December pledge to publish a full version of the highly anticipated Sue Gray report into Downing Street gatherings.

At a tense Prime Minister's Questions session, Labour leader Keir Starmer challenged the Prime Minister on whether he would publish the findings in full after suggestions it could be heavily redacted or scaled back following the launch of a Metropolitan Police investigation. 

Boris Johnson responded that he would do "exactly as I said" when questioned on whether he was still committed to allowing the release of the report in full.

The Prime Minister also confirmed he did believe the ministerial code would also apply to him, following suggestions he may have breached the rules by "misleading" Parliament.

But he deflected claims by the Labour leader that he had misled MPs by earlier assertions he had no awareness of Downing Street parties, and accused Starmer of being "relentlessly opportunistic" in calls for his resignation.

This morning Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the government was committed to publishing the findings of the report, but claimed "security issues" might force some elements of it to be redacted.

"We don't yet know the content of the report and there could be security issues that mean parts of it are problematic to publish, but we will absolutely publish the findings of the report," she said.

On Tuesday Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced the force were launching their own investigations into the Downing Street gatherings, saying several events were going to be investigated which they considered the "most serious and flagrant breach" of the regulations.

The announcement had triggered suggestions from Whitehall that the publication of Sue Gray's report could be delayed significantly, but the position was later reversed after the Met reportedly said the findings would not prejudice their inquiry.

The Prime Minister swerved comments about the investigation during PMQs, saying he was not able to comment on the active investigation.

But Starmer criticised the Prime Minister and accused him of not taking the issue seriously after Johnson repeatedly described him as "Captain Hindsight" and berated Starmer as a "lawyer not a leader".

According to analysis by Dods Political Intelligence, just over 10% of Tory MPs have worked as lawyers, barristers, solictors or advocates before joining Parliament.

"The reality is that we now have the shameful spectacle of a Prime Minister ... being subject to a police investigation," Starmer said.

"Unable to lead the country, incapable of doing the right thing, and every day his cabinet fail to speak up, they become more and more complicit."

There has been speculation the report could trigger a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, prompting efforts from his allies to dampen dissent among the Tory backbenches.

Speaking on Tuesday, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told the BBC his colleagues should look at the "bigger picture" and said the party would be forced to call a new poll if Boris Johnson was deposed.

"It is my view that we have moved, for better or worse, to essentially a presidential system and that therefore the mandate is personal rather than entirely party, and that any prime minister would be very well advised to seek a fresh mandate," he said.

The UK has not moved to a presidential system. 

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