Boris Johnson “has to explain” why he met Sue Gray to discuss her Partygate report
Boris Johnson is under pressure to explain why he met with Sue Gray to discuss her report on the Partygate scandal, which is due in the next few days.
Labor warned that the “secret meeting” could further damage confidence in the investigation into the scandal, while the Liberal Democrats raised fears of “sampling”.
The Prime Minister is among around 30 people who Ms Gray, a senior official, has told her report is likely to name her – with until Sunday night to raise objections.
The release is expected on Tuesday or Wednesday after the Metropolitan Police announced the completion of their investigation which resulted in 126 fines against 83 people.
Angela Rayner, Labor Deputy Leader, said: “Boris Johnson urgently needs to explain why he held a secret meeting with Sue Gray to discuss her report, despite his claim that her investigation was fully independent.
“Public confidence in the process has already been exhausted and people deserve to know the truth. Sue Gray’s report must be released in its entirety with all supporting evidence.”
Christine Jardine, a spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat Treasury Department, said: “Any hint of jabs would absolutely mock the report. This meeting needs to be explained.”
It was suggested that the meeting about a month ago should discuss whether up to 300 photos given to the Met probe should be included in Ms Gray’s report.
A No 10 spokesman said on Friday: “The Prime Minister commissioned the inquiry led by Sue Gray and has been clear throughout that it should be fully independent.
“As he reiterated today, the decision on what to release and when is entirely up to the investigative team and they will respond in Parliament once it is finalized.”
Although Downing Street describes the inquiry as “independent”, it is in fact an internal process conducted by a government employee.
Pressure on Mr Johnson has eased after he escaped further fines for the No10 parties, on top of that handed down for his birthday party in Cabinet in June 2020.
However, the full Gray report could still further lift the lid on what its interim report called the “failures of leadership and judgment” by exposing the communications that led to the lockdown-busting events.
The Prime Minister then faces an inquiry from the Commons’ Privileges Committee to see if he lied to Parliament when he claimed no laws had been broken at Downing Street.
Under the Ministerial Code, any minister who knowingly misleads the House of Commons is expected to resign.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-partygate-sue-gray-b2084185.html Boris Johnson “has to explain” why he met Sue Gray to discuss her Partygate report