Sue Gray Dossier on ‘Partygate’ Reportedly Set For Release Next Week as Met Wrap Up Probe

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to address a press conference prior to his departure, in New Delhi, Friday, April 22, 2022
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to address a press conference prior to his departure, in New Delhi, Friday, April 22, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.05.2022
The Met Police announced on Thursday the conclusion of an inquiry into the so-called "partygate" scandal - gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall which breached COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. A total of 126 referrals for fixed penalty notices were made relating to events that took place on eight dates between May 2020 and April 2021.
The final report by senior civil servant Sue Gray into gatherings in Downing Street and around Whitehall, which breached coronavirus lockdown restrictions in 2020 and 2021, is set to be published within days, reported daily newspaper, the i.
Now that the Metropolitan Police investigation – Operation Hillman - has wrapped up, Downing Street will be expected to act in line with a commitment it made earlier to publish Gray’s findings as soon as possible.
At present, Gray is understood to be revising her work in light of the Scotland Yard investigation. Accordingly, her findings might be submitted to the Prime Minister next week, stated the outlet.
According to cited sources, officials at No 10 will first examine Gray’s dossier to ensure it does not breach data protection rules by identifying junior civil servants. Nevertheless, they believe it will be possible to publish the report in full on the same day the document is sent.
To date, only a limited group of officials in the Cabinet Office have reportedly been familiarised with her findings besides the Metropolitan Police.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for the House of Commons to make a statement about Downing Street parties during the coronavirus lockdowns in London, Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.04.2022
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The investigation into so-called “partygate” was initially led by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case until he himself was accused of participating in the potentially illegal gatherings, and he stepped down from the case.
Gray took over, with her full-length report originally completed by the end of January. However, around that time Scotland Yard began its own investigation into alleged breaches of the law. Accordingly, the police force requested that Gray withhold anything that was related to the gatherings they were investigating.
Gray published an interim report in early February, saying that the incidents inquired into were “difficult to justify”, and there had been “failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times”.
As she sent Johnson the brief summary of her findings, she stopped short of naming any individuals or assigning blame for rule-busting.
There is at present no clarity regarding the exact format of the final dossier expected from Gray. She might choose to include in the main body of the report documentary evidence such as emails, photographs and CCTV images, or such documents might appear in a separate appendix.
Publication of the findings by Gray will mark the formal end of the process dating back to December 2021, when the first allegations of wrongdoing emerged, prompting Boris Johnson to promise to hold an inquiry.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the 10 Downing Street, in London, on April 19, 2022, to give a statement at the House of Commons - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.04.2022
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Johnson, his wife, Carrie, and the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were earlier issued with Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) by Scotland Yard in relation to a surprise party for the PM’s 56th birthday on 19 June 2020 with up to 30 people attending in the Cabinet Room. The gathering was ruled to have breached coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Boris Johnson paid the £50 ($66) fine thereby becoming the first British PM discovered to have broken the law while in office. He apologised for his mistakes but insisted he had not knowingly breached the lockdown rules. However, neither Johnson nor his wife were issued a second fine, as some had expected.
The sign outside the Metropolitan Police's New Scotland Yard headquarters - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.05.2022
Metropolitan Police Conclude Partygate Investigation, Issue 126 Fines
In total, the Met issued 126 referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPN) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of COVID-19 regulations as a result of Operation Hillman. 28 people received between two and five fines. All referrals for “partygate” fines relate to events that took place on eight dates:
20 May 2020
18 June 2020
19 June 2020
13 November 2020
17 December 2020
18 December 2020
14 January 2021
16 April 2021
Now that Operation Hillman has ended, Boris Johnson faces an investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee into whether he intentionally misled Parliament over “partygate.” Under the terms of the ministerial code, this would qualify as a resigning offence.
The Committee has not yet met to decide who will chair the inquiry, after Labour’s Chris Bryant recused himself over an accusation of bias, reported the i.
The inquiry is deemed unlikely to finish its work before Parliament’s summer recess in July, Boris Johnson might have to wait until September for the final verdict on “partygate” to be delivered.

‘Industrial-Scale Law-Breaking’

The UK Prime Minister has been in the crosshairs for months over the scandal, with Tory rebels and the opposition demanding that he quit.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to attend his ceremonial reception at India’s presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on April 22, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.04.2022
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Conservative rebels had reportedly been waiting for Gray's final report before submitting their letters of no confidence in the PM to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee. A minimum of 54 letters are needed for a vote to be called.
However, early indications are that the threat to the Prime Minister’s leadership has receded, the newspaper reports. Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme:

“There is no question this has been damaging. It was wrong, he has apologised a lot for it, and so he should, because they lost control of what was happening in Downing Street. You will see from all these fines that there were an awful lot of civil servants caught up in this. They blurred the line very distinctly about what was work and what was not work, and they shouldn’t have done it and they have been fined, a large number of them, and that is quite right.”

An ally of Boris Johnson was cited as saying that the Prime Minister “agreed” with Duncan Smith’s view that the allegations had damaged him and his administration.
Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer reiterated his call for Johnson to resign, blaming him for a culture of “industrial-scale law-breaking” in No 10.
Conservative former Chief Whip Mark Harper, who had similarly called on Johnson to step down over “partygate”, joined Labour and the Liberal Democrats in calling for Gray’s report to be published as soon as possible.
According to Downing Street, once the Gray dossier is released, the Prime Minister will “talk in more detail” about the scandal.
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