Politics

Sue Gray knew of texts suggesting Carrie Johnson hosted social gathering, aide claims | Boris Johnson


Sue Gray knew about textual content messages suggesting the prime minister’s spouse, Carrie Johnson, might have hosted one other gathering in her Downing Street flat throughout lockdown, Johnson’s spokesperson has claimed.

The official Whitehall report into Partygate made no point out of the occasion, which befell on Boris Johnson’s birthday, 19 June 2020. The occasion is separate to the celebration within the cupboard room that noticed each Johnsons fined by police.

Labour have mentioned the revelation “looks like yet another cover up” that “casts further doubt on the integrity of the investigation”.

The Sunday Times mentioned a No 10 aide had written to the cupboard secretary, Simon Case, after the Gray report was revealed to supply to share messages they believed confirmed proof of additional regulation breaking in Downing Street.

The aide was mentioned to haven’t needed to ahead the messages exchanged with Carrie Johnson to Gray’s crew, however supplied in January to return into the Cabinet Office to point out investigators in particular person and once more after the Metropolitan police closed its personal investigation.

At the time of the gathering, indoor socialising was banned. An exemption to assembly was made the place the gathering was “reasonably necessary … for work purposes”.

Gray was conscious of the texts “as part of her exhaustive inquiry into alleged breaches”, Carrie Johnson’s spokesperson mentioned on Sunday.

They added: “Staff were given ample opportunity to present evidence including these messages and all relevant information was passed to the Metropolitan police for investigation.

“The lunchtime gathering in the cabinet room on 19 June 2020 was subsequently found to be in breach and a fixed penalty notice was issued to Mrs Johnson among others for which she apologised unreservedly and promptly paid the fine.”

Gray made reference to the cupboard room gathering in her report, saying it lasted for 20 minutes and those that attended ate meals and drank alcohol. Photos had been revealed of Johnson, the cupboard secretary, Simon Case, and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

Her long-awaited findings, revealed on Wednesday, made no reference to some other gathering that befell that day.

However, the claims threaten to reignite anger over the Partygate scandal, which the prime minister has sought to attract a line below.

A authorities supply admitted Gray’s report had not set off the “political implosion” some anticipated, however added that the consequence would in all probability result in “a gradual drip” of different damning particulars.

One Tory MP thought to have submitted a no confidence letter within the prime minister voiced related issues. “It’s bad,” they mentioned. “This is never going to go away, there’s going to be a steady stream of new revelations. It’s just going to keep on!”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy chief, mentioned the textual content messages had been suppressed and that the general public “deserve the truth about why the holding of a lockdown party in the prime minister’s flat on his own birthday has not been made public until now”.

She added the revelation “raises new questions about potential misconduct in public office, which must now be subject to proper and genuinely independent scrutiny” and that “this looks like yet another cover-up”.

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A Cabinet Office spokesperson mentioned: “The report was impartially conducted and its contents represent the findings and conclusions of the investigation team alone.

“As with all such investigation reports, the process of obtaining formal representations from those perceived to be criticised prior to publication took place. This is an appropriate and usual process in such matters.”

Gray’s report contained just one point out of Johnson’s spouse, wherein she was not referred to by identify.

It associated to a backyard gathering on 15 May, a photograph of which was obtained by the Guardian, the place practically two dozen Downing Street employees – together with the Johnsons – clustered in teams within the No 10 backyard.

Gray mentioned that occasion lasted for as much as an hour and that the prime minister introduced cheese and wine down from his flat.



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