scorecardPolice tell Sue Gray to publish watered-down partygate report
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Police tell Sue Gray to publish watered-down partygate report

Thomas Colson   

Police tell Sue Gray to publish watered-down partygate report
PoliticsPolitics2 min read
  • The London police asked that a public "partygate" report contain "minimal" detail in certain areas.
  • The report into claims of parties at Downing Street was expected this week, but that's now in doubt.

A report into allegations of illegal parties held at Downing Street could be watered down, or further delayed, after the police demanded that it be published only with "minimal" details.

The Metropolitan Police has told Sue Gray, the Cabinet Office civil servant carrying out the inquiry into so-called partygate, to skirt over the events it is now investigating. The force's commissioner, Cressida Dick, announced on Tuesday that it would be looking into several events, several months into the row, having received new evidence from Gray's team.

"For the events the Met is investigating, we asked for a minimal reference to be made to the Cabinet Office report," a statement from the Metropolitan Police on Friday said.

"The Met did not ask for any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed, but we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation."

It is now unclear what form the Gray report will take or whether it will be published at all.

Gray is believed to have concluded her report earlier this week, though Cabinet Office sources stressed the inquiry was ongoing.

The request from the Met Police was branded as "odd" by the human-rights lawyer Adam Wagner.

"The police don't, as far as I am aware, ask journalists not to report on ongoing investigations and often media will report on the factual circumstances surrounding a police investigation, then clam up once a charge has been brought," he wrote on Twitter.

"I suppose the police might argue that there is a possibility down the line of a jury trial e.g. if. there are misconduct in public office charges, but it still seems odd to say that Sue Gray's findings would at this very early stage 'prejudice' anything."

David Allen Green, a law and policy expert, added: "This may mean the Sue Gray report falling between two garden chairs.

"The most damaging stuff glossed at Met request, so only less damaging stuff published in detail: PM 'cleared', then police investigation gets dropped with damaging details still unpublished: again PM 'cleared'."