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

20 May 2022, 15:00

Sue Gray is set to name and shame aides who broke Covid rules in her report.
Sue Gray is set to name and shame aides who broke Covid rules in her report. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Sue Gray will not be stopped from naming and shaming Downing Street aides who breached Covid rules, Boris Johnson has insisted.

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It comes after the Metropolitan Police confirmed that it had finished its investigation into the Partygate scandal, having issued 126 fines for at least eight events.

As a result, Sue Gray's report into the gatherings is now being eagerly awaited, with the outcome set to determine whether Boris Johnson's premiership could come to a premature end.

No10 earlier confirmed that the decision to name officials in the document would rest solely with the senior civil servant.

Asked again whether names would be blocked from appearing, during a visit to Powys, Wales, Mr Johnson reiterated: "That will be entirely up to Sue Gray and I'll be looking forward very much to seeing what she has to say and, fingers crossed, that will be pretty soon next week."

He was also asked if he would apologise now the police investigation has finished.

"I'm very grateful to the Met for their work, I'm thankful for everything they've done. We just need to wait for Sue Gray to report, fingers crossed, that will be very soon, and I'll be saying some more next week," he responded.

Mr Johnson, who received a fine at an earlier stage of the police investigation into events, was told he faced "no further action" from the Met.

A total of 53 men and 73 women received fixed penalty notices (FPNs), with the force saying 28 received between two and five FPNs.

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

Read more: 'Boris didn't get away with Partygate': Raab says it's up to Sue Gray to name and shame

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

Mr Johnson has been formally contacted by Ms Gray's team as she prepares to name him in her report, according to the Mirror.

He was given advance notice on Thursday evening of what the inquiry will say about him when it is finally published but he was not sent exact quotes, it is believed.

As a "courtesy", the PM was given a Sunday night deadline to raise any objections, a source told the paper.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister, asked about suggestions of a dispute about Ms Gray naming officials in her document, said: "I've seen the reports overnight and this morning but it remains the case that it is for Sue Gray to decide what information she includes in her report.

"I can't pre-empt her content or presentation.

"As with the interim report, it is purely a matter for Sue Gray how she wants to present the report and what it includes."

Asked whether Downing Street was negotiating over who is named in Ms Gray's report, the spokesman added: "Sue Gray is compiling the report independently and how she does that, and the contents of it, and what is presented is entirely a matter for her."

Boris could be named in the report.
Boris could be named in the report. Picture: Alamy

Speaking to Nick Ferrari earlier on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said it would be Sue Gray's "prerogative" to "name and shame" politicians who were issued with fixed penalty notices and publish pictures submitted to the report.

When pressed on whether he would be in support of the report naming key politicians who were issued with fines, Mr Raab replied: "Well that will ultimately be her call as it has been for the Met.

"All I'd say is that we were very clear that if there were any politicians that have been fined, then we would have full transparency as we have shown.

"It is ultimately her prerogative."