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‘Cover-up’: Opposition leaders react with anger to Met Police party inquiry

Leaders of opposition parties have called for the full disclosure of Sue Gray’s report into lockdown-busting parties at Downing Street. This comes following news that parts of the report will be redacted to “protect” the police investigation. 

The Metropolitan Police have insisted that force will not interfere in the timing of the document’s release, but state that they have requested that parts of the report be redacted. Certain details will hence be blocked out to comply with the Met’s request.

Commander Catherine Roper, who leads the Met’s Central Specialist Crime Command, said the force had requested that “minimal reference” be made by the report into “relevant events”, in order to “protect the integrity of the police investigation” and be “as fair as possible to those who are subject to it”. 

This has sparked worries that the report will be shorn of all the serious allegations. And opposition parties have insisted the report is published in full.

Reacting on Twitter, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “I want to see the Gray report in full. … Our country faces huge challenges and it’s offensive that the Government’s sole focus is on cleaning up after themselves”. Sir Keir repeated that “The Prime Minister is unfit for office and must resign”.

Taking a harder line, SNP Westminster group leader Ian Blackford has tweeted: “No one will accept a Westminster cover-up. If the UK government refuses to publish the full unredacted report it will prove, yet again, that Westminster is utterly corrupt and broken beyond repair”. 

“It won’t save Boris Johnson’s skin. It will only add to the calls for him to go”.

Sue Gray, the senior civil servant heading the inquiry to No. 10 gatherings, is set to hand her report to Downing Street shortly. But no specific date has been given. It was previously thought that Ms Gray’s report would be published earlier this week, however the Metropolitan Police’s announcement on Tuesday, that it was investigating the gatherings, appears to have delayed publication. 

Ms Gray has said that she wants to avoid blanking out whole swathes of text in what could be interpreted as “a Whitehall whitewash”, but was nonetheless redrafting parts of her report to address any police concerns.

The report has emerged as a central concern of the ongoing “partygate” scandal. Many Conservative MPs are saying they will wait for the publication before deciding whether to take action against the prime minister, who has admitted attending certain gatherings in Downing Street. All this is hence crucial for the prime minister’s political future.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, has joined his fellow opposition leaders in calling for the full, unredacted report. He said: “Anything short of the full report would be a Whitehall whitewash not worth the paper it is written on”.

“A stitch up between the Met leadership and Number 10 will damage our politics for generations and it looks like it is happening right in front of our eyes”.