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Sue Gray and Boris Johnson 'met in private to discuss Partygate report'
20 May 2022, 22:41 | Updated: 20 May 2022, 22:44
Boris Johnson and Sue Gray had a private meeting to discuss the handling of the Partygate report, it has been revealed tonight.
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It is understood the meeting happened about a month ago, before the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the parties but after she published her "update" on the report at the end of January.
Despite the meeting No 10 has insisted the Prime Minister wants the report to be "completely independent".
On Thursday the Met closed Operation Hillman, the investigation into lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street.
It was reported yesterday that Sue Gray was in discussion with the civil service's human resources and legal teams because she was determined to name and shame key players in the Partygate scandal in her full report, which is due to be published next week.
Sources quoted by the Telegraph have said it would be "difficult" for Ms Gray publish the report without naming specific people or their roles, whilst others have suggested she does not want to look like she is "trying to hide something".
Mr Johnson said he would not stop her from naming individuals.
It was also reported yesterday that named individuals will be able to read excerpts from the report before it is published - and may be able to challenge the findings.
It was also suggested the final report could contain photos from the gatherings in question.
It is unclear whether the inclusion of photos was discussed in the meeting between Mr Johnson and Ms Gray.
It is also not clear who initiated the meeting.
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said any hint of a "stitch up" would make an "absolute mockery" of Ms Gray's report.
She called for Mr Johnson to resign, or for the Tories to oust him.
"Any whiff of a stitch up would make an absolute mockery of the report," she said.
"This meeting must be explained.
"Most of the country already feels betrayed by Boris Johnson.
"He has undermined public trust and the public deserve a process that is completely transparent and beyond question.
"It is a sorry state of affairs that Boris Johnson and his government are in such a crisis, he should do the right thing and resign, if not Conservative MPs should sack him."
Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said the Prime Minisister needed to "urgently explain" the purpose of the meeting and reiterated calls for Ms Gray's report to be published in full "with all accompanying evidence".
"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," she said.
"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."