After Sue Gray’s Partygate Report was watered down, Cressida and Scotland Yard were accused of a “stitch up” and a “Whitehall farce”.

Tories, lawyers and ex-officers have joined a furious backlash after police confirmed they have told the Cabinet Office the long-awaited document should feature ‘minimal reference’ to lockdown breaches that might be criminal.

An announcement like this has completely thrown off the balance. Gray may now consider pausing the project rather than publishing a version she knows will go unanswered as a whitewash. 

Although police waited for the complete report to conduct their investigation on some allegations, they initially informed them that they would still be happy to see the full findings of civil servants. 

Opinion MPs were furious at this latest move. This will come as a huge relief for Boris Johnson since the Yard probe won’t be completed until weeks, or even months. Some felt that it smelled like a’stitchup’, while others said it was because of incompetence. 

Ex-police officers and lawyers questioned when the report was published and whether it would prejudice the investigation.

Even the loyal Tories admitted the situation was a mess, and said that it should have been clear the report had to be put on hold while a criminal investigation took place. 

Christopher Chope (Conservative MP) accused the force ‘usurping’ its authority by seeking to interfer in the affairs state. Another veteran backbencher Sir Roger Gale was a critic of the PM and called the maneuvering ‘ridiculous.

According to BBC Radio 4, he said that this had all the characteristics of Whitehall farce, written by Scotland Yard. While initially the Met Police said that they were not going to investigate the matter, they then stated they would. The Palace of Westminster could hear the relief in Downing Street as they kicked the can down the street.

‘Then they said it would be OK for Sue Gray to publish her report and now this morning they’re saying it’s not OK, or it is OK but she can’t publish anything that anybody is likely to be interested in – which is ridiculous.

“Unless Sue Gray is prohibited from publishing her research, I believe it should now be fully published. 

Downing Street claimed that there was no communication with the Met regarding the inquiry. Ms Gray and her team handled the content of Gray’s report.

MailOnline received this statement from a source: “It almost seems like some people are unhappy that a crime investigation is underway.” 

Theresa May is now getting involved in the Partygate controversy by speaking out against the flouting lockdown and insisting that no one is above the law. 

In a letter to constituents seen by her local newspaper the Maidenhead Advertiser, Mrs May wrote: ‘I have said previously that it is vital that those who set the rules, follow the rules. No one is above the law.

“This is essential for maintaining the trust required between government and public.” 

Scotland Yard stated this in a statement issued today: “For the Met’s investigation, we requested that the Cabinet Office report make minimal mention.”

“The Met did no ask for restrictions on any events in the reports, or that the report be delayed. But we are still in constant contact with the Cabinet Office to discuss the content of our investigations. 

Whitehall sources said ethics chief Sue Gray was facing major hurdles in publishing her full report into the controversy following the Metropolitan Police’s decision to launch a criminal probe (Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick pictured Jan 25)

Senior figures who attended the parties, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and those believed to have organised parties despite knowing they would contravene Covid rules, may well face police interviews (British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to 10 Downing Street after attending the weekly Prime Ministers Questions on January 26, 2022)

Whitehall sources claimed that Sue Gray, the ethics chief at the Metropolitan Police was having major difficulties publishing the full report on the scandal following the decision of the Metropolitan Police to open a criminal investigation (Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dixon pictured Jan 25, 2005).

Nicola Sturgeon said that the 'murky' events were creating suspicion that the inquiry process was 'aiding Johnson at the expense of public accountability'

Nicola Sturgeon claimed that Johnson’s’murky’ events had led to suspicions that the inquiry was ‘aiding Johnson’ at the cost of accountability. 

Tim Farron warned the police had 'lost consent'

Diane Abbot accused the Yard of not having wanted to investigate in the first place

After an earlier suggestion that the Met could release the full report in full, MPs expressed their anger at this extraordinary turn of events. 

Theresa May stomps into Partygate, declaring that “nobody’s above the law” 

Theresa May stated that she is angry at the accusations of parties holding in Downing Street while coronavirus restrictions were in effect

This is the reported first comment of the former prime Minister on the partygate scandal.

In a letter to her local newspaper, Mrs May, who is yet to comment publicly on the No 10 scandal, stated that “nobody’s above the law” and told constituents.

According to The Maidenhead Advertiser, Mrs May stated that she had previously said that it was vital for those who make the rules to follow them. No one is above the law.

“This is crucial for building trust between the government and the people.

“Like many others, I was angered to hear about the stories of Number 10 who set the coronavirus rules and then not following them properly.

The letter – sent before the Metropolitan Police launched an inquiry into the alleged parties – referred to senior official Sue Gray’s investigation, which has now been delayed due to the criminal probe.

Mrs May claimed that, “if there is any evidence of deliberate and premeditated wrongdoing,” full accountability will be taken.

Elle added that “all those at the center of Government should behave with the highest standards, which befits their work.”

Boris Johnson’s Commons policy has come under fire from Mrs May.

The resignation of Mr Johnson from Mrs May’s Cabinet by Ms. May was one of her blows that resulted in her leaving Number 10 in 2019.

Peter Bleksley, an experienced detective said that Dame Cressida displayed a’staggeringly lack of judgment’.

He said that “Cressida” Dick had shown an astonishing lack of judgment by failing to announce an investigation once the evidence became public.

“She’s done too little.” An investigation by the cabinet office should have been conducted in conjunction with a police investigation.

“It is a massive misjudgment. It could also be interpreted as an astonishing lack of independence. Conspiracy Theorists will think, “Of course she wants to protect Downing Street.”

An ex-director of public prosecutions said that the Metropolitan Police’s stance was “disproportionate”.

According to Lord Macdonald, the BBC was informed by him that the risk from the intervention of the police this morning was that it leaves matters hanging in the air over weeks or months. This seems clearly not in the public’s best interest.

‘If we’re talking about fixed penalty notices – like parking tickets, essentially – if we’re talking about that kind of resolution, then to take the rather grave step to delay a report that is going to shed public light on the subject matter of what may be a major public scandal, I think that is undesirable and I think it may be a misjudgment.

“But only the police can determine what is actually at work here.

“It really is to say, that if you are only talking about lockdown breaches or fixed penalty notices then this action by the police this AM seems to be disproportional.”

Crossbench peer stated that Ms Gray’s behaviour was unknown. He cited the instance of “the coordinated deletion of email or text messages” as an example. This could possibly have raised the stakes, and put more serious offenses into consideration.

Nazir Afzal is a former chief Crown procuror for North West. Sue Gray can’t possibly give a biased report that is purely factsual.

“They must just follow the evidence of which the report will make a part.

Adam Wagner is a human rights lawyer who spent much of the pandemic reading complex coronavirus laws. He also explained them to the public via social media. Is it possible for a factual civil servant report to be made about the events being investigated by police?

A anonymous writer and lawyer known as The Secret Barrister added that an independent police investigation into criminal cases would not be influenced or sought to be influenced by a report from the civil service.

Nick Aldworth is a former Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent and Counter-terrorism National Co-ordinator. He said that the report might prejudice police investigations by disclosing evidence they are gathering and giving potential defendants the opportunity to hide or alter it.

Publication of reports and other inquiries may be delayed up to the conclusion of a police investigation or any other court case. This happens to minimize the possibility of prejudice to a jury in the event of a criminal trial.

However, in this case police would not be able to investigate the matter under the Coronavirus Regulations. The penalty for violating lockdown rules is a notice with a fixed penalty and is unlikely that it will lead to a criminal prosecution. 

Sir Christopher Chope (Conservative MP) said that Met claimed there was danger of prejudice. This was in response to a “specious justification”.

He stated that the Metropolitan Police sought to interfer with Sue Gray’s report today on the specious basis of wanting to stop prejudice from a criminal investigation.

“Yet, the only law in the statutes that applies to the prejudicing of a criminal investigation is the proceeds-of-crime legislation. This is not the topic we are discussing at the moment.

He claimed that the Met had ‘usurped its position and sought to interfere with the affairs of the state’.

Raising a point of order, the Christchurch MP said: ‘I thought that it was this House which held the Government to account for its policies, and not the Metropolitan Police.’

He said: “There’s no reason that the Metropolitan Police should be able to demand Sue Gray to not issue her report unaffected for the benefit both of the Prime Minister, who requested it, and this House, that is keen to see it.”

“It appears that the Metropolitan Police has taken over its authority by trying to interfer in the affairs state, without any criminal offenses or grounds for such interference.”

Downing Street stated that it wasn’t true that Ms Gray had requested No 10 to ask her team to return to the Metropolitan Police in order to verify the report was clear and not interfering with investigations.

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said that he was unaware that terms of reference stated that the Cabinet Office would maintain contact with police. It’s also an independent investigation. The contents of this investigation and the details thereof have been withheld from us.

“So that would have been a matter to the investigations team or the Met.

The Met spokesperson said that he was not aware of any discussions between No.10 and the Met regarding the Gray report.

The Met spokesperson, when asked to clarify whether there was no involvement of No10 in its position, said that he believed that it was correct.

KeirStarmer claimed that the Government was “paralysed” by Sue Gray’s investigation but did not go so far as to criticize the Met.

According to the Labour leader, he said that he would like to see Sue Gray’s full report and complete the investigation as soon as possible. This is because Government has been paralysed by the fact that the police have begun to investigate what the Prime Minister did in Downing Street.

Sir Keir said: “We have a criminal investigation into Prime Minister’s behavior and the events in Downing Street. Although there are likely to be issues with the process, this all stems from one thing: the Prime Minister’s behavior.

Sir Keir answered a question about whether he could see any prejudice in the light of his legal background. However, Sir Keir stated that the prime minister and his actions are causing this mess. 

Whitehall sources confirm that top civil servant Ms Gray faces major obstacles, raising questions as to whether it is worth publishing it.

At the weekend Ms Gray’s findings were sent to Met, prompting Commissar Dame Cressida to open a formal investigation Tuesday into allegations that Lockdown Laws were violated.

It was immediately expected that the investigation into civil servants would be put off, but police made it clear that they are happy to release all of them.

After days of speculation and panic in Westminster, it was confirmed by the Met that they are asking for the suppression of any information that might be detrimental to their investigation. 

The police’s actions in disrupting the process were the catalyst for clarity. 

“I was aware that there had been reports suggesting that the Met would allow it to be published. But that wasn’t the case. It’s actually the reverse, according to a Whitehall source. 

According to another Whitehall source, “Anything that is worth reading” will be kept back. It is worth considering whether it would be worthwhile publishing it until the full version can be published. 

The Tories warned Mr Johnson to not try to hide anything in the report. However, there will be anger at the Met because of the manner it has handled the situation. 

Tuesday was a day when Dame Cressida declared that there would be no proportionate force use to investigate historical Covid breach allegations. But, in an ominous comment, she said investigations were carried out for ‘the most serious and flagrant type of breach’ where there was evidence of wrongdoing and no ‘reasonable defence’ – and where failure to act would ‘undermine the legitimacy of the law’.  

Dal Babu, the former chief superintendent at the Met, stated yesterday that there were no reasons why the full report couldn’t be published as it stands despite the Met’s objection.

Sky News was informed by him that it isn’t a judge-led investigation and she does not have the power to summon witnesses. Her report is similar to one on human resources.

Mr Babu pointed out that the sanction for breaching lockdown rules is a fixed-penalty notice – something he described as an ‘entry-level crime’.  

Mark Harper, former chief whip, was a strong critic of the PM and said that he was moved by the ‘heartbreaking” testimonials of members of the public, who couldn’t see their dying loved ones during a period when the No10 staff were said to be having parties.

He added, “The complete report must be publicized.” It would be wrong to try and hide or suppress vital details.

Sir Keir Starmer stated that Labour would pursue every avenue to ensure the report was complete.

Although the report was due to be released on Wednesday, it has not yet been sent to No10 today. Sources from government said that the report could still be published today and the PM would make a statement later to Parliament. But, with most MPs back in their constituencies, the report will likely not be published until at least Monday – leaving Mr Johnson facing another weekend in limbo.

It comes as Attorney General Suella Braverman was pictured leaving Downing Street at 7pm last night following news that dozens of Downing Street staff are facing fines after it emerged police have a list of people who attended lockdown-breaking parties. 

The rule-breakers are likely to face fines of up to £100, as people who flouted Covid restrictions during lockdowns in England were charged £100 for the first offence.

According to The Telegraph, police will contact individuals who they believe can be proven to have attended Downing Street gatherings and issue fixed penalty notices.  

They’ll be required to pay the fine unless they can successfully challenge it with reasonable evidence or explanations as to why they shouldn’t be charged.

Under lockdown rules and the Health Protection Act, people who broke Covid restrictions could be awarded fines up to £3,200 for repeated offences, though it is unclear whether people who attended multiple gatherings will face higher fines. 

Met pushing to lower Sue Gray report leaves lawyers puzzled 

Lawyers have raised concerns that Sue Gray’s findings could be published to prejudice an investigation by the police into the allegations of Downing Street lockdown-breaking party members.

Scotland Yard asked that the Whitehall inquiry make only a’minimal mention’ of the events under investigation in order to prevent prejudice. However, it insists it hasn’t asked Ms Gray as a senior civil servant to delay her report and place additional restrictions on any other events.

Metropolitan Police stated that Ms Gray would have to either make major changes or postpone publication until the end of her investigation.

However, some legal experts have raised concerns about whether publishing the report could prejudice police investigations.

Nazir Afzal is a former chief Crown procuror for North West. Sue Gray can’t possibly give a biased report that is purely factsual.

“They must just follow the evidence of which the report will make a part.

Adam Wagner is a human rights lawyer who spent much of the pandemic reading complex coronavirus laws. He also explained them to the public via social media. What would be a civil service factual report on events that the police are investigating to ‘prejudice their investigation’?

“The Secret Barrister”, an anonymous writer and lawyer added, “I am a criminal law practitioner, and there is nothing I can see that would lead to an independent investigation of a police crime.

Nick Aldworth was a former Metropolitan Police chief Superintendent and counter-terrorism National co-ordinator. However, Aldworth said the report may prejudice the investigation by disclosing information they have gathered and thus giving possible defendants an opportunity conceal or alter the evidence.

Publication can be delayed for official reports or other inquires until the police investigation is completed and any court cases or inquests are concluded. This is to reduce the chance of prejudicing juries if there was to be a criminal case.

However, in this case police would not be able to investigate the matter under the Coronavirus Regulations. The penalty for violating lockdown rules is a notice with a fixed penalty and is unlikely that it will lead to a criminal prosecution.

Police will not interview many of those who are expected to be issued a fixed-penalty notice and their identities will not be disclosed to the general public.

Police may interview senior leaders who went to the parties including Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, or those suspected of having organized parties that were in contravention of Covid rules. 

Sue Gray’s detailed report contains information for senior civil servants and police officers to “work out between them”, a minister from Government has stated.

Scotland Yard had asked that the Whitehall inquiry into lockdown-breaking allegations in Downing Street be limited to a’minimal mention’ of the actual events being probed by police

Chris Philp (technology minister) was asked about the developments on ITV’s Good Morning Britain program. He said that he had just seen it.

Sue Gray has the final say on how to put together Sue Gray’s Sue Gray Report. She and the police will decide how they handle it.

‘Clearly, between Sue Gray and the police, this will get fully investigated – as it should.

‘But the important thing to say is that the Government have no influence and no involvement in how Sue Gray and the police conduct their respective reports and investigations, which is right – it is right they are fully independent.

“So they will both cover the incident that needs investigating, so Parliament and the public have an accurate and complete account. But that is up to Sue Gray and the police to work that out between them – it is not something the Government should or would interfere with.’

It comes as former Cabinet minister Lord Frost urged Boris Johnson to axe ‘all the neo-socialists, green fanatics and pro-woke crowd’ in Downing Street to reset his premiership after the Partygate scandal. 

With Sue Gray yet to give her report to Number 10, and the Tories beginning to draw battle lines about efforts to suppress or hide damaging information, it looks like Covid row-busting will continue into next week. 

Mr Johnson has flatly denied that Ms Gray’s inquiry is being neutered as the wait for the conclusions continues – with complaints that other crucial issues are being ignored.

Tory leaders are putting pressure on the PM to end his number 10 operation immediately after the public report comes out. 

Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, tweeted that ‘whatever conclusions about the leadership Tory MPs may draw from the Gray report and whatever follows, the crucial thing is significant change in policies and in systems & people around the PM’. 

Referencing a column written by The Telegraph’s Allister Heath, the peer said: ‘In systems & people – so the levers of government work, and, as Allister says, ‘with all the neo-socialists, green fanatics and pro-woke crowd exiting immediately’.’

Many will interpret the comments of Lord Frost as being a dig at Carrie Johnson, the wife of Mr Johnson. She is an avid environmentalist, and was credited with helping to shape the PM’s earlier declaration about a green recovery after the Covid pandemic. 

Some Tory MPs have criticized the Prime Minister over his green policies. Others are worried about his ability to hit his net zero emission target. 

Mark Harper, Tory MP insisting that the report must not be implausible by No10 as rebels prepare for a coup attempt should Mr Johnson be found guilty. Taking to Twitter to highlight a ‘heartbreaking’ interview with a man who lost his mother, father and sister to Covid in 2020, Mr Harper said: ‘The report must be published in full. Anything that tries to suppress or conceal crucial information would be unwise.  Backbench organizer and ex-minister Steve Baker echoed his sentiments. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has demanded the report be published ‘in full and as soon as possible’, adding: ‘After what everybody in the country’s been through in the last year or two with the pandemic, huge sacrifices have been made, the least that they’re entitled to is the truth about what the Prime Minister was up to.’

Yesterday, Johnson made it clear that he wasn’t trying to affect the outcome of the independent inquiry when he visited Wales. He said that “I’m afraid we’ve got to allow the independent inquiry continue,” and also added that government was “getting on with their work.” 

Downing Street stated that they were not trying to stop the report or do so as Mark Harper suggested. The investigation has been completed and we intend to publish it as such. 

Asides raised concern that Gray wanted to punish special advisors and politicians, which suggests she’s on a “power trip”. 

Mr Johnson is bracing to acknowledge ‘serious mistakes’ and voice regret for lax enforcement of lockdown rules in No10 if and when the conclusions finally appear. To maintain power, Senior Conservatives want him to clear out the Downing Street staff.  

According to an ally, yesterday’s Daily Mail report said that although he acknowledged his mistakes, he still believes he is the best man for the job.   

Attorney General Suella Braverman visited No10 last night as it emerged that dozens of Downing Street staff are facing fines after police said they would issue fixed penalty notices to people who attended lockdown-breaking parties (Braverman pictured leaving Downing St at 7pm last night, Jan 27, 2022)

Suella Braverman, the Attorney General of New York, visited No10 to learn that several Downing Street staff were facing penalties after they announced they would issue fixed penalty notices for people who participated in lockdowns. Braverman is pictured leaving Downing St. at 7pm on Jan 27, 2022.

Former Cabinet minister Lord Frost has urged Boris Johnson to axe 'all the neo-socialists, green fanatics and pro-woke crowd' in Downing Street to reset his premiership after the Partygate scandal

Lord Frost, a former Cabinet minister, has urged Boris Johnson not to sack ‘all of the neosocialists green fanatics or pro-woke crowd’ at Downing Street in order to reset his premiership following the Partygate scandal

Tory MP Mark Harper warned No10 today against any effort to 'conceal or suppress' details in the Sue Gray report

Mark Harper, Tory MP for the Tory Party, warned No10 today not to attempt to suppress or conceal details contained in Sue Gray’s report