Boris Johnson latest partygate news: Downing Street instigated Sue Gray meeting, No10 admits

Metropolitan Police conclude Partygate inquiry with 126 people fined

A Downing Street official instigated the controversial meeting between Partygate author Sue Gray and Boris Johnson, No10 has admitted.

At the weekend, Downing Street sources suggested that the senior civil servant had asked to see the prime minister to discuss the timing of the Partygate report, prompting Mr Johnson’s “allies” to accuse accused Ms Gray of playing politics.

But Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson said today that the idea of the meeting was first raised by a No10 official, prompting Ms Gray’s team to follow up with the suggestion and meet with the prime minister in early May.

Mr Johnson and his top team are braced for the publication of the report, which will reportedly contain photographs of some of the events held during Covid regulations.

The prime minister is among dozens of Downing Street figures who have been warned they will be named in the report.

Top civil servant Simon Case could reportedly be among the hardest-hit by the document despite not being fined by police.

Key Points

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Boris Johnson should take responsibility for any No 10 lawbreaking, says Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has said Boris Johnson should take responsibility for any law-breaking in No 10 ahead of the Sue Gray report being published.

Asked if he has any fears over public officials “carrying the can” for the Prime Minister, Sir Keir told journalists: “The culture is set at the top, the can should be carried by the Prime Minister.

“He has responsibility. I doubt he will, because he doesn’t take responsibility for anything he’s done in his life.

“But the culture in Downing Street is set from the top, as it is with any organisation, and that culture has led to industrial-scale law-breaking.”

Joe Middleton23 May 2022 12:35


Sue Gray Partygate meeting with Boris Johnson instigated by Downing Street official, No 10 admits

A controversial meeting between Boris Johnson and Partygate report author Sue Gray was instigated by a Downing Street official, No 10 has admitted.

The secret meeting sparked a furious row over the weekend, as Downing Street sources insisted that the senior civil servant requested to see the prime minister to discuss the timing of publication, amid claims that close Johnson allies are accusing her of “playing politics” with the report.

Andrew Woodcock has the latest.

Joe Middleton23 May 2022 12:17


When will the Sue Gray report be published?

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is expected to finally publish her full report into the “Partygate” scandal over lockdown rule-breaking in Downing Street this week after the Metropolitan Police completed its own investigation into the affair.

My colleague Joe Sommerlad explains what the report is about and when it is expected to be published:

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 12:10


Sue Gray ‘of course’ able to act independently, says Boris Johnson but declines to comment on meeting

Boris Johnson has insisted Sue Gray is “of course” able to act independently but declined to answer questions about a meeting he had with the senior civil servant about her report into partygate.

The prime minister said he would not give a “running commentary” but “it can’t be long now” before the report is out, adding he could not say more.

Asked if the report was still an independent one, the prime minister said: “Of course, but on the process you are just going to have to hold your horses a little bit longer.

“I don’t believe it will be too much longer and then I will be able to say a bit more.”

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 12:00


Sue Gray meeting ‘new low’ for government, says Sir Keir Starmer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said reports Boris Johnson held a secret meeting with Sue Gray was a “new low” for the government.

During a tour of a large Sainsbury’s store in Nine Elms, south London, Sir Keir urged for Ms Gray’s full report into partygate to be published as soon as possible.

He told journalists: “I always had a concern that as we got to the publication of the Sue Gray report, there will be attempts by the government to undermine her and undermine the report.

“That’s what we’ve seen going on over the weekend in recent days, a new low for the Government.

“What we do know is there was industrial-scale law-breaking in Downing Street – over 120 fines. So what we need now is the full report, all of the evidence.

“It’s the least the public is entitled to from this government.”

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 11:47


Boris Johnson says ‘no option off the table’ to deal with rising cost of living

Boris Johnson said “no option is off the table” to deal with the rising cost of living but added “I’m not attracted, intrinsically, to new taxes” in response to pressure to introduce a windfall levy on oil and gas firms.

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 11:36


Nicola Sturgeon ‘knocked for six’ by Covid

Nicola Sturgeon has said Covid-19 has “knocked me for six” after testing positive on Friday.

Scotland’s First Minister said she had experienced “mild symptoms” after meeting Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill in Edinburgh last week, but said on Twitter on Monday that the impact of the virus had worsened.

“Thanks for all the well wishes. The virus has really knocked me for six the past couple of days,” she said.

“So while I hope to be back fighting fit v soon, I’m having to stay at home for now.”

She added: “Once again – this time from personal experience – please do get all doses of vaccine if you haven’t already.

“Covid can be nasty and vaccination protects against much more serious illness. Right now, I’m feeling extremely grateful for that.”

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 11:20


Boris Johnson congratulates new Australian counterpart

Boris Johnson has “fulsomely” congratulated his new Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese, after his centre-left Labour Party ousted the conservative coalition.

After a call this morning, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The prime minister told the new Australian leader that he wanted to congratulate him fulsomely on the big moment and said he looked forward to strengthening the UK-Australia relationship even further.

“Discussing Aukus, the leaders strongly agreed on its vital importance and the exciting opportunities it provided. The prime minister said he thought the trilateral grouping could go further together in other domains, where both countries could collaborate for the global good.

“The pair also paid tribute to the extraordinary resistance of the Ukrainian people in the face of ruthless Russian aggression, and the prime minister thanked Australia for its principled position and strong support to Ukraine.

“On trade, both leaders agreed the free trade agreement was incredibly important to both countries going forward, as well as the UK’s accession to the CPTPP trade bloc.

“The leaders agreed to stay in close touch, and hoped they would be able to meet in person soon.”

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 11:02


Lib Dems to make ‘humble address’ demanding publication of Boris Johnson and Sue Gray meeting

The Liberal Democrats will table a “humble address” motion in the Commons demanding that the Government publishes details of the meeting between Boris Johnson and Sue Gray.

Chief whip Wendy Chamberlain is calling for the minutes of the meeting to be released and for details of who arranged it.

She said: “The public would be rightly angry if it turns out Boris Johnson put pressure on Sue Gray to water down her report into illegal Downing Street parties. A lack of transparency at this pivotal moment risks undermining the entire inquiry.

“We deserve to know whether this meeting really was an attempt to turn the report into a Downing Street stitch-up.”

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 10:38


Major review calls for windfall tax on biggest private children’s home providers

A windfall tax should be imposed on profits made by the largest private children’s home providers to fund the overhaul of England’s “dysfunctional” care system, according to a landmark review.

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is calling for a “radical reset” to improve the lives of children in care and their families.

Read the full story here:

Chiara Giordano23 May 2022 10:25

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