Boris Johnson ‘told Sue Gray to quit Partygate report’

Boris Johnson'told Sue Gray she didn't need to release full Partygate report'

Boris Johnson reportedly tried to persuade Ms Gray that her report was no longer needed due to the Scotland Yard investigation (Image: ITV/Rex)

The Prime Minister reportedly told Sue Gray she didn’t have to publish her full report in Partygate.

Boris Johnson reportedly tried to persuade the senior official that her report was no longer needed due to Scotland Yard’s investigation into the lockdown busting parties.

It comes after Downing Street admitted to requesting a meeting between the Prime Minister and Ms Gray earlier this month.

A source told the Times: “He asked her if there’s much point in doing it now that everything’s out there.

“He concluded that she does not have to publish the report.”

While another said: “They were investigating this idea of ​​not having a report. It has been talked about [in Downing Street]. But politically they realized they couldn’t do it.’

Confusion over who called the meeting between the Prime Minister and Ms Gray was widespread, as both sides initially gave conflicting briefings.

A government source said the meeting was held to discuss “handling and choreography” around the report.

Number 10 initially claimed the senior official initiated the meeting to discuss her report ahead of the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police’s Hillman investigation.

*** NO PERMISSION LEGAL PLEASE *** Exclusive: Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured drinking at the Downing Street party during the lockdown

New pictures of the Prime Minister at a Downing Street event emerged on Monday (Image: ITV News)

Even a press secretary was removed from Ms. Gray’s team amid the briefing war and conflicting statements.

Simon Clarke, the Finance Secretary, reiterated in interviews yesterday that Ms Gray “instigated” the meeting.

But within hours, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman contradicted him, admitting that Downing Street had made the official request.

Asked if officials had told Ms Gray’s team that Mr Johnson would like to meet her, the spokesman said: “No, this was not at the request of the Prime Minister.

‘It wasn’t framed that way. It was suggested that holding this meeting might be helpful.

“Obviously Sue Gray is independent, it is up to her whether to proceed with a meeting regarding her investigation.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/REX (12819858p) Second Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet Office SUE GRAY is seen in Westminster. Gray led the investigation into parties taking place at Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdown. Gray's report is expected to be released in full after Scotland Yard concludes its criminal investigation into the lockdown parties. Sue Gray was spotted in Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom on February 23, 2022

Ms Gray’s report is expected any day (Credit Image: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/REX)

The official spokesman added that the meeting was called in response to reports that the Met’s Hillman investigation may be coming to a close.

“It was discussed that it might be useful to provide an overview of what Sue Gray and her team plan to do in terms of release and timing – release after the report is complete,” they added.

“I think these discussions had already taken place at the official level.”

Police completed their Partygate investigation on Thursday, handing out a total of 126 fines after investigating 10 gatherings.

Mr Johnson received a single fixed sentence for one event – although there was evidence he was present at other gatherings, including one on November 13, 2020.

Photos released yesterday show the Prime Minister raising a glass with at least six others in front of a table littered with open bottles of wine and spirits.

The pictures are said to have been taken on November 13, 2020 at an exit of his former top spin doctor, Lee Cain.

Rules at the time allowed only two people from different households to mingle indoors outside of the work environment.

As details of the 2021 gathering emerged amid the first Partygate allegations, Mr Johnson denied any rules had been broken.

Mr Johnson was not fined for attending the November 13 event, but at least one person was fined for attending a gathering on the day of Mr Cain’s departure.

Scotland Yard has refused to explain why the Prime Minister was not fined over the incident.

With the Met’s investigation complete, Ms Gray’s report is expected to be released this week.

Downing Street has been contacted for comment.

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Justin Scacco

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