POLICE chiefs have asked for details to be left out of the upcoming report into No 10 parties – throwing its publication into doubt.
The Met confirmed today it has told Whitehall enforcer Sue Gray to redact parts of her dossier that cover the events officers are investigating.
Met Police boss Dame Cressida Dick has ordered a probe into No 10 parties[/caption]
The findings of the Gray report will be make or break for the PM[/caption]
In a statement the force said including anything more than “minimal” information about the most serious bashes could prejudice its own probe.
Scotland Yard added: “For the events the Met is investigating, we asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report.
“The Met did not ask for any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed.
“But we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office , including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation.”
The full Gray Report will still be published but only after police inquiries have wrapped up, which could take weeks.
It leaves the top civil servant now facing the choice of putting out a watered down version in the meantime or withholding the whole thing.
There have been almost 20 alleged parties, with officers only probing those that would represent the most serious breaches of Covid laws at the time.
Technology minister Chris Philp said No 10 still hadn’t received this report as of this morning and doesn’t know when it will be published.
Boris Johnson yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to release the dossier in full but wouldn’t definitely say some parts wouldn’t be redacted.
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And the intervention from the Met will fuel fears the original version may prove to be a whitewash with any damning evidence kept back until later.
Labour says the probe must be published “in its entirety” and No 10 “cannot be allowed to cover-up or obscure any of the truth”.
Nazir Afzal, a former Chief Crown Prosecutor, said the Met’s excuse for demanding redactions from the report was “absolute nonsense”.
He said: “A purely factual report by Sue Gray cannot possibly prejudice a police investigation.
“They just have to follow the evidence, of which the report will be a part.”
Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald said: “The risk of the police intervention this morning is that this leaves things hanging in the air for weeks and months, and that seems obviously not to be in the public interest.”
And Tory MP Sir Roger Gale piled in: “This has all the hallmarks of a Whitehall farce written in Scotland Yard.
“A while back the Met Police were saying they weren’t going to investigate, then they said they would investigate and the sigh of relief from Downing Street could be heard in the Palace of Westminster as the can was kicked down the road.”
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It comes after The Sun revealed its publication, which will make or break Boris Johnson’s future, could be delayed by weeks.
Top government legal advisers argue that her findings into alleged No 10 lockdown breaches must be delayed until after the Met inquiry concludes.
That could be weeks away. Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick had planned to wait for the Cabinet Office report to be released before deciding whether to launch a probe.
But she performed a spectacular U-turn on Tuesday in the face of criticism.
External lawyers have told the Government they face an HR nightmare if Ms Gray’s report is released and she names people currently subject to a separate police investigation.
But that legal advice could still be overruled with a watered down version of the report being put out.
A Whitehall source said: “Anything worth reading will now have to be held back.
“So there comes a point in deciding if it is even worth publishing until it can be run in full.”
Another government figure admitted: “Cressida has completely f***ed it all up.”
Pressure to publish
Ms Gray is said to be still pushing for publication, with Downing Street chiefs insisting they want to see the findings.
Today Lord Frost, the one-time Brexit talks boss, writes in The Sun: “The future of Boris Johnson’s government needs to be settled in the next few days.”
And backbench Tory rebel ringleader Mark Harper claimed: “The report must be published in full.
“Any attempt to conceal or suppress crucial details would be wrong.”
Senior civil servants and political aides are expected to get a major dressing down from Ms Gray for their bad behaviour during lockdown.
Sources claim those close to the PM will be accused of putting him at huge risk and offering him duff advice.
The uproar comes as the Tory revolt against the PM continues to fizzle out — with MPs fearful they will get “rebel’s remorse” if they knife Mr Johnson.
Last night, Tory MP Connor Burns, who faced ridicule for saying Boris was “ambushed by cake” at an event in June 2020, added another twist to the tale.
He claimed in a podcast interview: “I’m told, under some authority, that there actually wasn’t a cake.”
There are fresh doubts over whether Sue Gray’s document can be published while a police investigation is ongoing[/caption]