Partygate photos set to be included in Sue Gray report, as PM urged to explain meeting her

21 May 2022, 09:34 | Updated: 21 May 2022, 18:23

Sue Gray's Partygate report is expected to be released next week
Sue Gray's Partygate report is expected to be released next week. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Pressure is growing on Number 10 to explain a "secret meeting" between Sue Gray and Boris Johnson to discuss her report into parties in and around Downing Street.

A spokesperson for Sue Gray has rejected suggestions she called for a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss her report into lockdown-breaking parties.

But a No10 source says Mr Johnson didn't request the meeting either and hasn't tried to influence the outcome in any way.

Downing Street insists Mr Johnson has been clear throughout the Partygate scandal and that the investigation should be completely independent.

The discussions touched on whether photos would be revealed to the public, and Ms Gray initiated the meeting "to clarify her intentions" for what would happen once the police investigation concluded, according to reports.

It is understood that Ms Gray will include pictures in her final report, the BBC reported today.

But a spokesman for the Gray inquiry disputed this account of events.

They confirmed that a meeting between the Prime Minister and Ms Gray took place, but said they would not characterise the talks in that way.

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "The prime minister must urgently explain why he held a secret meeting despite claiming her investigation was completely independent.

Read more: Downing St staff's WhatsApp messages and emails 'to be included in Sue Gray report'

Read more: I want to send weapons to Moldova to guard against Putin, says Truss

Boris Johnson's position secure after Partygate police investigation

"Public confidence in the process is already depleted, and people deserve to know the truth."

It emerged last night that incriminating WhatsApp messages and emails exchanged between members of Downing Street staff are set to be published as part of Sue Gray's Partygate report.

The communications will be published to demonstrate that individuals were made aware of the fact they were breaking the law by holding gatherings in lockdown, according to The Times.

Ms Gray is in the process of contacting key players in the scandal with a view to naming and shaming them in the report.

Among the 15 expected to be directly named is Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Mirror said as a "courtesy" he had been given until Sunday night to raise any objections.

Boris Johnson anticipating Sue Gray report 'pretty soon next week'

Read more: Sue Gray and Boris Johnson 'met in private to discuss Partygate report'

Read more: PM insists he won't stop Sue Gray from naming and shaming No10 aides who broke Covid rules

It comes after it was revealed Ms Gray and Mr Johnson had met in private to discuss her report some weeks ago.

It is understood the meeting took place before the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the parties, but after she published her "update" on her own investigation at the end of January.

Despite the meeting, No 10 has insisted Mr Johnson wants the report to be "completely independent".

The spokesperson also said Ms Gray had not shown the Prime Minister the content of her investigation.

Read more: Sue Gray 'ready to name and shame key Partygate players' and may publish photos of events

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: "Any whiff of a stitch up would make an absolute mockery of the report.

"This meeting must be explained.

"Most of the country already feels betrayed by Boris Johnson.

"He has undermined public trust and the public deserve a process that is completely transparent and beyond question."

The Metropolitan Police concluded its investigation into lockdown-breaching parties at Downing Street on Thursday.

A total of 126 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued as part of Operation Hillman.

The Prime Minister received one at an earlier stage of the investigation.