A heavily edited version of the Sue Gray report into alleged parties inside Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown will be published later on Monday, No 10 has said, after a copy was sent to Boris Johnson.
It appears likely that many of the most serious allegations will not be considered in the version of the report that will be released, because of a request by the Metropolitan police, which launched a parallel investigation last week.
No 10 said it was still “unclear” whether there would be a further publication from Gray after the Met has completed its investigation.
On the prospect of the release of a fuller report at a later stage, Johnson’s official spokesperson said: “At this stage, we will need to consider what might be appropriate and we are discussing with the independent Cabinet Office team in due course what might be appropriate, but at the moment it is unclear how the ongoing Met police investigation might interact with any further work.”
Johnson will give a Commons statement, expected at around 3.30pm, about an hour after the report is published on the gov.uk website and issued to MPs, No 10 said.
At about 11.30am, the Cabinet Office said that Gray, a senior civil servant, had sent her report to Johnson, saying in a statement: “We can confirm that Sue Gray has provided an update on her investigations to the prime minister.”
The wording of “update” rather than “report” suggests the document Johnson has received is some way from the full findings gathered by Gray.
While the report had been seen as potentially crucial as to whether Johnson remains in office, with a number of his MPs poised to move against the prime minister if it appears he has lied or misled parliament, the report as sent is set to miss out many significant facts.
The full report had been nearly ready last week. However, the decision of the Met to investigate alleged offences means what has been sent to Johnson is expected to include minimal mention of a series of alleged social events.
Johnson’s official spokesperson said all that Gray sent would be published in full, but declined to say whether her full findings would be released once any Met investigation was completed.
“At this stage, we will need to consider what might be appropriate, and we will be discussing with the independent Cabinet Office team in due course about what might be appropriate,” he said. “But at the moment it’s unclear how the ongoing Met police investigation might interact with any further work on that.”
Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, said it was as disgraceful as it was predictable that No 10 would not commit to the full report ever being published. He said: “Boris Johnson must confirm that the full report will be published as soon as possible. Every day it is delayed prolongs the pain for the millions across the country who just want answers and for justice to be done.”
The Met asked Gray last week to make “minimal reference” in her inquiry report to matters its officers were investigating, which are expected to be the most serious allegations.
When allegations of parties first emerged, Johnson told parliament he had obeyed all lockdown rules, and that he knew nothing of any parties at No 10, even though subsequent evidence showed he had personally attended what appeared to be social events. A prime minister misleading parliament is regarded as a resignation issue.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to Essex on Monday, Johnson insisted he had been truthful, saying: “I stick absolutely to what I’ve said in the past.”
Asked about warnings that the inquiry would be a whitewash because of the changes, he said: “You are going to have to wait and see both what Sue says and, of course, what the Met says.”
Many Conservative MPs have been waiting to see if the findings include evidence of rule-breaking or misleading statements by the prime minister. If 54 Tory MPs submit letters to Graham Brady, the chair of the influential 1922 Committee, Johnson will face a vote of no confidence.
However, if much of the report is missing because of the police investigation, many might find it hard to reach a conclusion, giving the PM some respite.
The investigation, launched in December, was led originally by Simon Case, the cabinet secretary. He stepped down from the inquiry soon after the process began after reports that his office had also held a social event.
Gray, who was director general of propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office from 2012 to 2018, took over the inquiry in mid-December.