Downing Street Pledges to Publish Updated Sue Gray Report When Police Investigation Completes
Senior civil servant Sue Gray, who today published an update to her investigation into the Downing Street party allegations.
Number 10 has committed to publishing further details of Sue Gray's investigation into allegations of parties in Downing Street after the Met Police has completed their own inquiry into the matter.
A limited "update" of Gray's investigation was published by the Cabinet Office this afternoon. Detail of twelve events being investigated by the Met was redacted, including an event held in the Downing Street flat.
While Boris Johnson did not commit to whether a fuller version of Gray's report when he gave a statement on the matter to the Commons this afternoon, a Downing Street spokesperson has since said that further detail will be published once the Met inquiry is complete.
“Given the police have said they are investigating a number of events, it would not be appropriate to comment further while the Met’s investigation is ongoing," a Downing Street spokesperson said this afternoon.
“But, at the end of the process, the Prime Minister will ask Sue Gray to update her work in light of what is found. He will publish that update.
“However the Prime Minister is clear we must not judge an ongoing investigation and his focus now is on addressing the general findings.”
MPs were pushing today for the Prime Minister today to stick to a previous commitment he made to publish the Sue Gray report, beyond the less detailed version made available to the public this afternoon.
As well as senior Labour politicians, significant figures in the Tory party were also united in calling for it to be released in full. Gray wrote in the report herself that she has has much more information that she has retained and which will be provided 'in confidence' to the Cabinet Office.
She said: "I will therefore ensure the secure storage and safekeeping of all the information gathered until such time as it may be required further."
Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said in the Commons this afternoon that the Prime Minister should give an undertaking that as soon as he is able to, he should release the unredacted report to The House.
Johnson did not give any firm commitments. "Sue Gray has published everything that she can and I propose that we wait until the conclusion of the inquiry. In the meantime I think it peculiar that the report is being simultaneously hailed as utterly damning but also condemned for not having enough in it. It can’t be both," he said.
Former chief whip and Conservative MP, Mark Harper, pushed on Abbott's question when it was his turn to challenge the Prime Minister in the Commons.
“Sue Gray has made it clear in her update today that she couldn’t produce a meaningful report with the facts, so can I ask the Prime Minister the question that [Diane Abbott] asked him and to which he didn’t give an answer. When Sue Gray produces all of the facts, in her full report after the police investigation, will he commit to publish it immediately and in full?" he asked.
Johnson replied by saying that he would decide what to publish after the Met police inquiry had completed.
"What we've got to do is wait for the police to conclude their inquiries. That is the proper thing to do. People have given all sorts of evidence in the expectation that it wouldn’t necessarily be published.
"At that stage I will take a decision about what to publish, Mr Speaker," he told the Commons.
Chair of the intelligence and security committee, Julian Lewis, told Johnson that it would be in his interest, and the national intererst, to publish the full "uncensored" as soon as he receives it.
Johnson said he had taken extensive legal advice on that issue, adding that Gray had published everything she can at this stage.
Gatherings investigated by the Met include alleged parties held on April 16 2021, the night before Prince Phillip's funeral and when 100 people were invited to a "Bring Your Own Booze" party in Downing Street garden in May 2020.
The Met said that they had asked for Gray to provide minimal detail relating to the events the are investigating in her report, which was described today on official government documents as an 'update'.
They said, if following an investigation, officers believe it is appropriate, because the Covid regulations have been breached without a reasonable excuse, a fixed penalty notice would normally be issued.
Their statement said: "We do understand that the Met’s action in assessing and responding to these allegations will divide opinion. However police officers must, based on the information available to them, make carefully considered, difficult decisions, even when to do so is contentious.
"We understand the interest in and impact of this case, and will be progressing the investigation at pace. We are committed to completing our investigations proportionately, fairly and impartially."
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