Newsnight: PM grappling with major Sue Gray report issue
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Labour’s deputy leader called on the Prime Minister to “urgently explain” why the meeting had taken place. She said public confidence in the process had already been depleted and people deserve to know “the truth”.
Ms Rayner said: “Boris Johnson must urgently explain why he held a secret meeting with Sue Gray to discuss her report despite claiming her investigation was completely independent.
“Public confidence in the process is already depleted and people deserve to know the truth.
“This is a Prime Minister incapable of taking responsibility for the rotten culture he has created in Downing Street or of doing the decent thing.
“The Sue Gray report must be published in full and with all accompanying evidence.”
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister commissioned the investigation led by Sue Gray and has been clear throughout that it should be completely independent.
“The decision on what and when to publish rests entirely with the investigation team and he will respond in Parliament once it concludes.”
It is believed Mr Johnson and Ms Gray met at least once for an update on the progress of the report while it was being drafted.
A Whitehall source has said its contents were not discussed at any point.
READ MORE ABOUT BORIS JOHNSON AND THE SUE GRAY REPORT
The source said such meetings would not have been viewed as unusual with the aim to take stock of what stage the report was at.
Discussions touched on whether photos would be revealed to the public and Ms Gray initiated the meeting “to clarify her intentions” for what would happen once the police investigation concluded, according to a BBC report.
However, a spokesman for the Gray inquiry disputed the BBC’s account.
They confirmed a meeting took place, but said they would not characterise the talks in the same way.
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About 30 people, including Mr Johnson, are being contacted by the Cabinet Office to warn them of the contents of the document ahead of its publication.
It is thought that most of the Cabinet Office letters were sent out on Thursday, as the Metropolitan Police concluded its investigation into lockdown breaches in Downing Street and across Whitehall.
Mr Johnson is set to be among those approached, but it was unclear on Saturday morning whether he had received a letter.
On Friday it was reported that two civil servants had indicated they were considering legal action to prevent themselves being identified in the report.
Earlier, the PM insisted he would not seek to block names appearing in the document, saying he was “looking forward” to seeing its contents “pretty soon”.
Not everybody contacted by the Cabinet Office will necessarily be named or identified by some other means in the report.
Ms Gray’s report is widely expected to be published next week.
The Met declined to identify anyone in its £460,000 investigation.
A team of 12 detectives examined 345 documents, including emails, door logs, diary entries, witness statements and 204 questionnaires. They also examined 510 photographs and CCTV images.
Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined over a birthday gathering.
But Mr and Mrs Johnson were told by police they face no further action, according to Downing Street. Mr Sunak has not received an additional fine.
The Met said 28 individuals had received between two and five fines.
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