Politics

Sue Gray partygate report may not be finalised ‘until end of next month’

Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray’s report into allegations of lockdown-busting parties in No 10 may not be finalised until the end of May at the earliest, according to reports.

It comes as the Metropolitan Police continue to carry out its own investigation — first launched in January — into 12 separate events in government buildings during Covid lockdowns.

Scotland Yard has already issued Boris Johnson, his wife, Carrie, and the chancellor Rishi Sunak with fixed-penalty notices for a birthday gathering in the Cabinet Room, but No 10 is bracing for the possibility of further fines.

Last week the force began issuing fines to Downing Street staffers for attending the “bring your own booze” event in the Rose garden on 20 May, 2020 — an event the prime minister attended.

But the government has made clear Ms Gray will not publish her probe, which yesterday was said to be “excoriating”, until the Met concludes its own inquiry in the events in government buildings.

Amid concerns the police probe could drag on, a source told The Guardian they believed Ms Gray was “working towards the end of May as the most likely timetable” for completing her report while another suggested it was “wishful thinking” her report would be published before the end of next month.

The newspaper claimed it could take the senior servant a fortnight to finalise her report after the Met concludes.

On Monday it was also claimed the report will “make things incredibly difficult for the prime minister”, with Mr Johnson already facing calls to resign from some Tory MPs after becoming the first sitting prime minister found to have broken the law.

In an interim report published in January, the Cabinet Office official said there had been “failures of leadership and judgment” in No 10 over the “partygate” saga that has destabilised Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Campaigning in Bury yesterday — ahead of the local elections — the prime minister refused to be drawn on Ms Gray’s findings, saying: “There’s absolutely no circumstance in which I’m going to comment on that before the thing is complete.”

When pressed on whether he was still an asset to the Conservatives in elections, he added: “I’m not denying that”

“I think that the greatest asset the Conservatives have are Conservative values and the way that Conservative councillors up and down the country deliver taxpayer value.

“That’s what really matters and I think that’s what people will be focused on. And we will be fighting for every vote right up ‘til polling day.”

The Independent has contacted the Cabinet Office for comment.

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