The Sue Gray report into the Downing street parties scandal may still be partially released in the coming days, despite the newly launched police investigation.
A Number 10 spokesperson said the Metropolitan Police will not investigate all allegations of Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street and Whitehall – only those parties that “reach their threshold” needed to launch a criminal investigation.
Gray will be able to continue her investigation into those parties and events that do not reach the threshold, meaning that a partial release of her report could be just days away.
Downing Street also confirmed that Johnson will cooperate with the Met’s investigation if asked.
Gray’s report was originally due to come out this week, with Tory MPs expected to make a decision on whether to stick by Boris Johnson or try to remove him based on the findings of the probe.
“As the terms of reference make clear, [Gray] won’t publish anything that relates to the work of the police,” a Number 10 spokesperson said.
“There are a number of events and allegations [the Met] have looked into that don’t reach their threshold. [Gray] will be able to publish detail into those events, rather than the ones the Met is taking forward.”
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick announced today that her force would lead an investigation into a string of alleged lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Dick said that Gray handed some of her findings to the police on the grounds that she may have uncovered evidence of widespread law-breaking.
A Cabinet office spokesperson said: “The investigation being carried out by Sue Gray is continuing.”
Dick’s announcement today comes after months of police assurances that they would not investigate Covid rule-breaking that happened so long ago.
With the police investigation to take weeks or even months, Conservative MPs will now have to decide far sooner if they will send in letters of no-confidence to the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers.
Speaking to the London Assembly’s police committee today, she said: “As a result of the information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and, secondly, my officers’ own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
“We will not be giving a running commentary on our current investigations, but I can assure you that we will give updates at significant points as we would normally do.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed the Met investigation.
“I have been clear that members of the public must be able to expect the highest standards from everyone, including the prime minister and those around him,” he said.
“No one is above the law. There cannot be one rule for the government and another for everyone else.”
Responding to the police investigation, a Number 10 spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister fully acknowledges the public anger and concern about what has been reported. It is right that the Met should now be given the time and space to undertake their investigations.”