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Boris Johnson insists No10 will not block names from Sue Gray’s report

Boris Johnson has insisted he will not seek to block names appearing in Sue Gray’s investigative report in Partygate and said he looks forward to seeing its content “fairly soon”.

The Prime Minister said he was “very grateful” for the Metropolitan Police investigation, which ended with 126 fines for lockdown violations in Downing Street and Whitehall.

There have been calls for answers about how Mr Johnson escaped with only a fixed sentence (FPN), although it was believed he was present at several foul events.

Potentially harmful additional details, including the names of some of the participants in the gatherings, will be released in Chief Officer Ms Gray’s report.

Sources close to the investigation expect it to be released early next week, with people mentioned as being involved to be contacted over the weekend.

Mr Johnson declined to apologize again for breaking the rule in No 10 during a visit to Hilltop Honey’s factory in Newtown in Powys, Wales on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visiting Hilltop Honey in Newtown, Powys (Ben Birchall/PA)

(PA wire)

Instead, he said, “I’m very grateful to the Met for their work, I’m grateful for everything they’ve done.

“We’ll just have to wait for Sue Gray to get in touch, fingers crossed it will be very soon and I’ll say more next week.”

When asked if No. 10 would block names from appearing, he said: “That’s entirely up to Sue Gray and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she has to say and I’m crossing my fingers that that.” pretty soon next week.”

Officials affected by the Gray investigation, including those to be named, will be contacted to give them an opportunity to respond before the current draft is finalized for publication.

Mr Johnson is among those who will receive a letter from the Cabinet Office team, but sources No. 10 declined to say whether it has been received.

It is understood investigators are not including the full details of the allegations in the letters, instead giving those contacted a “gist” of the relevant sections.

There have been calls to Scotland Yard to explain how Mr Johnson was fined for his 56th birthday gathering in June 2020, when indoor mixing was banned.

Former Chief Public Prosecutor, Lord Ken Macdonald, warned: “It is very difficult for us to disentangle exactly how the police investigation went and how fair it went”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think, without the police providing an explanation, it’s very difficult for us to understand why they came to the conclusions they did.”

The Crossbench peer said it is not known why the Prime Minister was fined for his presence at one of the less serious events but not others.

Nor was there an explanation as to why Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, who was forced to withdraw from conducting the civil service inquiry after reports emerged of a Cabinet Office Christmas party, was not fined.

“This was a major scandal at the heart of government, at the heart of public service, and we remain very much in the dark as to who was involved, who organized the parties and who was responsible,” said Lord Macdonald, who headed the Crown Prosecution Service between 2003-2008 said.

“Obviously the prime minister and the head of civil service are ultimately responsible but there were obviously other people involved and we just don’t know who they are and I don’t think that’s good enough.”

Scotland Yard concluded its investigation on Thursday and said a total of 83 people had each been fined at least for attending events on eight different days.

A source close to the Gray inquiry said the inquiry could be released as early as Monday, but it was thought Tuesday or Wednesday was more likely.

But ultimately its release is handled by #10.

The Metropolitan Police declined to identify anyone in their £460,000 inquiry.

A team of 12 investigators examined 345 documents, including emails, door logs, diary entries, witness statements and 204 questionnaires.

They also examined 510 photos and CCTV images.

Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined during the birthday celebration.

But both Johnsons have been told by police they face no further action, according to Downing Street, and Mr Sunak has not received an additional fine.

The Met said 28 people received between two and five fines.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said if the Prime Minister didn’t resign over the Partygate scandal, Conservative MPs should “build a backbone and get rid of him”.

As he launched his party’s by-election campaign in Tiverton and Honiton, he told the PA news agency: “If they don’t, I honestly hope voters will punish the Conservative Party for treating voters like fools.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/boris-johnson-prime-minister-met-police-sue-gray-simon-case-b2083651.html Boris Johnson insists No10 will not block names from Sue Gray’s report

Bobby Allyn

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