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Sue Gray to publish censored version of No 10 parties report next week but full findings delayed by Met Police



A censored version of Sue Gray’s report on Downing Street parties will be published next week but the full findings may not appear for months after the Metropolitan Police Service sparked anger by demanding redactions.

The veteran civil servant is understood to have decided on Friday night that she will send the report to Boris Johnson imminently, but with key sections dealing with the most serious allegations removed.

Scotland Yard has asked Ms Gray to redact the findings which relate to potential breaches of the law, but has said they can be published once police proceedings are complete.

In a statement, the police service said it had not delayed the publication of the report adding that “the timing of its release is a matter for the Cabinet Office inquiry team”. Downing Street declined to comment on the Met statement.

Scotland Yard said there should be only “minimal reference” to the most serious claims about breaking the Covid lockdown regulations. Commander Catherine Roper, who leads the team carrying out the probe, said that the cuts “will only be necessary until these matters are concluded”.

She added: “We intend to complete our investigations promptly, fairly and proportionately.”

All the offences being investigated “would normally result in the issuing of a fixed penalty notice” and the investigation will be “proportionate to the nature of these offences”, Ms Roper said.

Those who are believed to have committed an offence will receive a letter asking them to “explain their actions” and detail any possible excuse, then officers will decide whether to issue a fine.

Opposition leaders and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have implied the Met’s decision – made just as the report was expected to be published – appeared “suspicious” and could imply an “establishment stitch-up”.

And Tory MPs bemoaned further delay to the full publication of the report, with those from both the pro and anti-Johnson factions fearing it will drag out the internal party row in a way that further erodes public support.

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One backbencher told i: “Cressida Dick has done what no one else could do and unite the Conservative party. The publication of a redacted report is in nobody’s interest – in a month of ridiculous headlines, this really takes the biscuit.”

Tory MP Roger Gale, a long-time critic of Mr Johnson, said the situation “has all the makings of a Whitehall farce made in Scotland Yard”.

Speaking on the BBC’s World At One programme, he said Ms Gray should “publish and be damned” unless there is a way for the police to legally stop her.

Ms Sturgeon said the situation “gets murkier by the minute”, tweeting: “Sue Gray and the Met are in difficult positions but the sequence of events and the situation arrived at now creates the suspicion – however unfairly – that the process of inquiry is aiding Johnson at the expense of public accountability.”

Police sources insisted that the Met’s ongoing investigation remained focused on “potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations” and is not considering alternative and potentially more serious offences such as misconduct in a public office.

A Scotland Yard source said: “The scope of the investigation has not changed and remains it as was announced earlier this week.”

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