Whitehall braces for Sue Gray’s long-awaited Partygate report: Sources warn it will provoke an ‘Oh Lord!’ response as it’s finally set to be published within DAYS
Parts of Sue Gray’s long-awaited report into the No 10 parties will provoke an ‘Oh Lord!’ response when it is published next week, sources claimed last night.
The senior civil servant will finally set out what exactly went on at 16 events across Whitehall.
Some of the most damaging revelations will include how a party in the Cabinet Office ended with a boozy fight. Sources said a number of the findings would make people think ‘Oh Lord!’ because they had been kept secret until now.
It is understood that the report, which is most likely to be published on either Tuesday or Wednesday, will be up to 36 pages long.
A source said Miss Gray’s report would not be as damning as some of Mr Johnson’s fiercest critics are hoping.
Whitehall insiders said Miss Gray was still ‘weighing up’ whether to publish some of the more than 300 photographs she gathered during her investigation.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is seen walking past a Metropolitan Police Van from the Tory Party Head Quarters back to Downing Street, Central London
They include some taken by No 10’s official photographer. Discussions last night were also continuing about whether the report would name senior figures involved.
It is understood that Miss Gray will present a factual account of all the gatherings such as how many people attended and what happened. She looked into 12 events investigated by the police, as well as four others.
The Whitehall mandarin will also expand on comments made in her interim report earlier this year when she found ‘failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No10 and the Cabinet Office’.
Parts of Sue Gray’s (pictured) longawaited report into the No 10 parties will provoke an ‘Oh Lord!’ response when it is published next week, sources claimed
Miss Gray was prevented from publishing her full findings when Scotland Yard launched its own investigation in January.
She is expected to consult lawyers and human resources managers as she makes final tweaks this weekend.
No 10 has committed to publishing it in full soon after it has been completed and Boris Johnson will give a statement to the Commons.
Miss Gray and her Cabinet Office team have interviewed more than 70 people including the Prime Minister as part of her inquiry, as well as examining emails, WhatsApp messages and text messages.
She was forced to publish in January a scaled-down version of her report into what happened after the police asked her to make only ‘minimal reference’ to the gatherings it is investigating.
The Prime Minister ordered the inquiry in December after a video emerged of Downing Street staff joking about a rule-breaking party.
He asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to ‘establish all the facts’ about the event, but Mr Case was forced to stand down from leading the probe after just ten days when it emerged a gathering was held in his own office.
Downing Street garden party attended by Mr Johnson, his then fiancee Carrie Symonds and staff
He was replaced by Miss Gray. The inquiry was later widened to include other events such as a No10 virtual Christmas quiz, leaving-dos for several aides and a festive bash at the Department for Education.
The terms of reference for the inquiry state that its ‘primary purpose’ was to ‘establish swiftly a general understanding of the nature of the gatherings, including attendance, the setting and the purpose, with reference to adherence to the guidance in place at the time’.
Miss Gray developed a fearsome reputation among ministers and officials in her former job as head of the ethics team in the Cabinet Office.
She dealt with complaints against ministers that effectively ended the ministerial careers of Damian Green and Andrew Mitchell.
Apart from a brief career break – to run a pub in Newry, Northern Ireland – she has worked in Whitehall for more than 20 years.
Former minister David Laws said previously: ‘It took me precisely two years before I realised finally who it is that runs Britain. Our great United Kingdom is actually entirely run by a lady called Sue Gray. Unless she agrees, things just don’t happen.’