Downing Street accused of attempting to ‘dilute’ Sue Gray’s Partygate report | Conservatives

Downing Street officers have been accused of making an attempt to dilute Sue Gray’s report into the Partygate scandal, with calls for to anonymise employees who broke coronavirus guidelines and to alter how the so-called “Abba party” was reported.

Partial drafts of the findings had been allegedly circulating in No 10 the day earlier than the ultimate report was handed over on Wednesday, the Sunday Times reported.

Sources advised the newspaper that Gray was urged by three senior civil servants to not publish the names of a few of those that had attended the 12 occasions below investigation.

“On Tuesday night, one last attempt was made to persuade her [Gray] to omit names from the report, but she made it plain to them the only way that was going to happen was if they issued her with an instruction,” a Whitehall supply mentioned.

The newspaper has claimed that key passages had been altered on the behest of No 10, together with the “Abba night” social gathering alleged to have been held within the prime minister’s flat in November 2020. An earlier draft referring to music being performed and stating at what time it completed was allegedly tweaked by Steve Barclay, Johnson’s chief of employees.

A authorities supply advised the Guardian that Barclay didn’t edit or affect the report in any approach.

The Cabinet Office rejected claims that the report was edited as a consequence of stress or that any occasions weren’t investigated due to requests made by senior figures.

They referred again to the wording of the report the place Gray defined her rationale for halting her probe into what occurred within the flat Johnson shares together with his spouse, Carrie. Gray mentioned she halted her work having solely collected “limited” details about the gathering when the Metropolitan police started their very own investigation.

Gray’s 37-page report on the social gathering tradition in Downing Street finally included 9 pictures and named some senior civil servants.

The findings detailed how every occasion unfolded together with a leaving social gathering on 18 June 2020 at which “one individual was sick” and “there was a minor altercation between two other individuals”.

The report included safety logs revealing some employees carried on partying till 4am after the leaving do for the director of communications, James Slack, cleaners giving proof of spilled wine on the partitions on one other event, and messages warning drunken employees to go away through the again entrance to keep away from being seen by journalists.

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Gray additionally highlighted quite a few events wherein members of No 10 employees raised questions on whether or not occasions ought to go forward, or about drunkenness in Downing Street, and had their considerations dismissed.

Johnson issued an apology to MPs for the tradition that developed in Downing Street through the pandemic on Wednesday, saying he took “full responsibility”.

However, the prime minister insisted he regarded it as “one of the essential duties of leadership” to attend leaving occasions and thank departing employees, as a result of “it was appropriate to recognise and to thank them for the work that they had done”.

He additionally advised a press briefing on Wednesday: “The first I saw the report and read it in its entirety – and, to the best of my knowledge, the first any of my team saw it – was when we got it shortly after 10am this morning.”

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