Politics

‘He’s eroding the Conservative party like battery acid’: Erstwhile Chief Whip slams Ukraine-bound Boris for running No10 like a ‘medieval court’ as MPs force him to agree full Gray report WILL be announced and cops mull 300 pics

'He's corroding the Conservative party like battery acid'

‘He’s corroding the Conservative party like battery acid’

Police are contemplating over dossier of 300 Party-gate photos with Carrie Johnson’s ‘party’ under examination

Scotland Yard is examining eight dates on which 12 events are said to have taken place, with detectives gathering 500 pages of details

Boris Johnson is acknowledged to have attended no less than four gatherings being investigated by the Met Police officers
Top civil servant Sue Gray has delivered report into claims of rule breaches, notwithstanding made clear watered down

Boris Johnson is still fearfully attempting to quell Tory Party-gate fury today as MPs warn the outrageous wrongdoing is like ‘battery acid’ and he should be ‘very worried’ concerning a coup.

The PM is leaving the pressure cooker of Westminster on a diplomatic mission to Ukraine following a stripped back version of the Sue Gray report was published yesterday – nonetheless still revealed that he is being probed by police over four breaches of lock-down law.
Mr Johnson suffered a mauling from a slew of Conservatives in the Commons, with Theresa May requesting to know if he thought the rules ‘didn’t apply’ to him, and erstwhile Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell saying the premier had lost his support.

Mr Mitchell stepped up his attack this morning warning that the row was ‘like battery acid corroding the party’ and condemning Mr Johnson’s leadership style.

‘I think this is a crisis that is not going to go away and is doing very great damage to the party. It is more corrosive in my judgement than the expenses scandal was and it will break the coalition that is the Conservative party,’

he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Unexpectedly normally-loyal MPs admitted that the PM’s response in the chamber was a ‘car crash’, even though Mr Johnson seemed to buy himself some time with a more appeasing performance at a private meeting with his rank and file last night.

Writing in the Times, Lord Hague criticized Mr Johnson for getting the tone wrong, saying he should have

‘acknowledged that the buck stops with him’ and ought to be ‘very worried about the number of his own MPs who asked unhelpful questions’.

‘Instead of reinforcing the momentum in his favour, he quite possibly stalled it. If I were him, I would be very worried about the number of his own MPs who asked unhelpful questions at the end of his statement.’

The looming verdict from Scotland Yard – which is sifting through more than 300 photos of Whitehall bashes and could interview both Mr Johnson and wife Carrie within days – could provide a moment of truth for the premier, but he has also been forced to agree that a full, underacted version of Ms Gray’s report after the criminal process concludes.

On another turbulent day as Mr Johnson struggles to cling on:

Deputy PM Dominic Raab insisted Mr Johnson is ‘getting on with the job’ but dodged giving a full-hearted defense of his swipe at Keir Starmer for failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile. ‘I can’t substantiate that claim,’ Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme;
Mr Johnson has pledged to take regular ‘strategic advice’ from election guru Lynton Crosby as he tried to appease angry MPs;
The premier has been ridiculed by Russia after he was forced to postpone a crucial call with Vladimir Putin on Ukraine so he could be grilled on Downing Street parties;
The premier attacked former No10 chief Dominic Cummings comparing him to Shakespearean villain Iago while he is good-natured Othello;
A snap poll has found two-third of the public do not accept Mr Johnson’s grudging apology over Party-gate.

Boris Johnson (pictured out for his morning run) is leaving the pressure cooker of Westminster on a diplomatic mission to Ukraine after a stripped back version of the Sue Gray report was published yesterday

Boris Johnson (pictured out for his morning run) is leaving the pressure cooker of Westminster on a diplomatic mission to Ukraine after a stripped back version of the Sue Gray report was published yesterday

Detectives are poring over a dossier of 300 Partygate photos with an alleged Abba bash in the No11 flat now one of 12 under investigation. Pictured: Mr Johnson and Carrie at the Eden Project in June 2021

Detectives are poring over a dossier of 300 Partygate photos with an alleged Abba bash in the No11 flat now one of 12 under investigation. Pictured: Mr Johnson and Carrie at the Eden Project in June 2021

Former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell said in the Commons last night that the premier had lost his support

Keir Starmer said it was now clear Mr Johnson himself is under criminal investigation, branding him a 'man with no shame' for not quitting

Former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell (left) said in the Commons last night that the premier had lost his support. Keir Starmer said it was now clear Mr Johnson himself is under criminal investigation, branding him a ‘man with no shame’ for not quitting

Mr Johnson apologised for the way the Partygate probe had been handled and said he would make changed to the way No10 is run

Mr Johnson apologized for the way the Party-gate probe had been handled and said he would make changed to the way No10 is run

Sue Gray has finally delivered her findings on Partygate to the PM - but made clear she wants to release more information after the police probe completes

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick

Sue Gray (left) has finally delivered her findings on Party-gate to the PM – but made clear she wants to release more information after the police probe completes. Last week the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (right) announced officers have launched a criminal inquiry after assessing a dossier of evidence compiled by Ms Gray

Raab refuses to back PM’s Jimmy Savile jibe at Labour leader

Dominic Raab  today failed to back his boss Boris Johnson’s use of a discredited claim that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer personally took the decision not to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

The Deputy Prime Minister initially tried to write off the Prime Minister’s claims as the ‘cut and thrust’ of a Commons debate, before admitting there was no evidence to back it up.

Mr Johnson made the comments in the House of Commons as he hit back at Labour criticism over the Sue Gray report, claiming Sir Keir ‘used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile’.

Labour’s leader today accused the Prime Minister of copying ‘a ridiculous slur peddled by right wing trolls’ and insisted he did not help the Top of the Pops presenter avoid trial when he was director of public prosecutions in 2009.

The Crown Prosecution Service has been widely criticized for failing to get justice for Savile’s victims, but a later inquiry found that the decisions was made by police and prosecutors locally, not Sir Keir personally.

Asked if he would withdraw Mr Johnson’s claim, the Deputy Prime Minister told Times Radio:

‘It’s not for me to do that. What I would say is it’s part of the cut and thrust in the Chamber.’

When questioned by the BBC’s Nick Robinson on whether this was a fair description, Mr Raab  said:

‘I can’t substantiate that’, adding: ‘I’m certainly not repeating it’.

Tory MP Julian Smith, the party’s former chief whip, turned on his party leader this morning and suggested the PM should go back to the Commons to withdraw it.

He tweeted today: ‘The smear made against Keir Starmer relating to Jimmy Saville yesterday is wrong & cannot be defended. It should be withdrawn. False and baseless personal slurs are dangerous, corrode trust & can’t just be accepted as part of the cut & thrust of parliamentary debate.’

Boris Johnson is under huge pressure over Party-gate, with speculation that he might even opt to walk away.

But barring resignation, the Tories have rules on how to oust and replace the leader.

What is the mechanism for removing the Tory leader? Tory Party rules allow the MPs to force a vote of no confidence in their leader.

How is that triggered? A vote is in the hands of the chairman of the Tory Party’s backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

A vote of no confidence must be held if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to the chairman. Currently that threshold is 54 MPs.

Letters are confidential unless the MP sending it makes it public. This means only Sir Graham knows how many letters there are.

What happens when the threshold is reached? A vote is held, with the leader technically only needing to win support from a simple majority of MPs

But in reality, a solid victory is essential for them to stay in post.

What happens if the leader loses? 

The leader is sacked if they do not win a majority of votes from MPs, and a leadership contest begins in which they cannot stand.

However, they typically stay on as Prime Minister until a replacement is elected. 

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the Labour leader said the idea that Mr Johnson could not speak about whether he attended alleged parties in Downing Street until the police conclude their investigation is ‘nonsense’.

He said: ‘What happened was the Metropolitan Police asked that the full report not be published at the moment, but the idea that that prevents the Prime Minister from saying whether he was at a party on a particular day is absolute nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

‘I think the spectacle of the Prime Minister standing at the dispatch box being asked ‘Were you at this party on the 13th of November in your own flat?’ And he says ‘I can’t answer that because of the investigation’…

‘He knows very well whether he was in the flat – and he’s taking us for fools.

‘I think one of the features of this particular set of circumstances is not only did the Prime Minister and others break the rules, but they’ve taken the country for fools by insulting our intelligence in the cover-up that’s gone on since.’

The former director of public prosecutions dismissed the ‘ridiculous slur’ from the PM that he had failed to bring Savile to justice.

The return of Sir Lynton, who masterminded Mr Johnson’s City Hall campaigns as well as election victory for David Cameron in 2015 – was revealed by Mr Johnson last night.

Mr Raab told LBC News that voters, MPs and the Prime Minister wanted the party to ‘get back to doing the job that people elected us to do’.

‘Lynton Crosby is an important element of that,’

Mr Raab said.

‘He has got a good strategic nose and a good sense of the direction of public opinion and a good place – not to formulate, that’s not what we do – but to test the work that we are doing to make sure we are nailing the priorities of the people.’

Mr Raab said it was ‘not clear’ whether Sue Gray would have ‘anything more’ to add beyond further conclusions in an updated report.

‘Anything she gives the Prime Minister he will publish but ultimately that’s a question for Sue Gray and the timing will depend on the police investigation,’

the Deputy Prime Minister told LBC Radio.

But anger on the Tory benches is still close to boiling point, with Mr Mitchell telling the BBC:

‘I think this is a crisis that is not going to go away and is doing very great damage to the party.

‘It is more corrosive in my judgement than the expenses scandal was and it will break the coalition that is the Conservative Party.’

Mr Mitchell said an

‘awful lot’ is going on ‘beneath the surface’.

He went on: ‘I think the problem is that Boris is running a modern government like a medieval court, you need to rule and govern through the structures, through Whitehall, through the cabinet for National Security Council.

‘Many of us thought he would govern in the way he did when he was Mayor Of London, through being a chairman of a board, running a very good team – that is not what has happened here.’

Lord Hague said Mr Johnson had benefited from ‘good luck and well-organised supporters’ in the way the Party-gate crisis had developed. But he wasted an opportunity to get on the ‘front foot’ by ‘ensuring integrity in government’.

‘For some reason, this very intuitive politician decided to do the minimum in responding to the report rather than go further in his apology and his proposals,’

the former Cabinet minister wrote.

Lord Hague said ‘Tories who are ready to act to remove him will be calculating the timing of their next move, conscious that they have only one shot at it in a 12-month period’.

Mr Johnson was lashed by his own MPs as he delivered a half-apology to the Commons after the Sue Gray report condemned ‘failures of leadership and judgment’ in Downing Street.

The senior civil servant handed a dossier of 300 Party-gate photographs and 500 pages of written evidence to Scotland Yard, as detectives probe lock-down-breaching parties in Whitehall.

Scotland Yard is now examining eight dates on which 12 events are said to have taken place. The Prime Minister is understood to have attended at least four gatherings being probed by the police, including a ‘bring your own booze’ garden party and a birthday party where he was ‘ambushed by cake’. Two of the events the Met is investigating had not been reported on.

The report prompted criticism from across the House, with former PM Mrs May saying Mr Johnson either ‘didn’t read the rules’ or thought they ‘didn’t apply’ to No10. ‘Which is it?’ she demanded.

By the time Mr Johnson met with parliamentarians in a rare gathering of the whole Conservative party later, a U-turn and vow to publish the eventual report in full appeared to have cooled the situation.

Mr Johnson told his troops he ‘nearly died’ from Covid as a sign he took it seriously, as well as launching jibes at Mr Cummings and announcing he was drafting in Sir Lynton.

But the threat of a vote of no confidence has not yet been killed off by Mr Johnson as he still faces hostility from his own MPs.

Tory MP Angela Richardson revealed she had quit as a ministerial aide to Michael Gove, sharing her ‘deep disappointment’ at the handling of the Party-gate row.

Writing on the grass-roots Conservative Home website today, Red Wall MP Ric Holden warned that Mr Johnson needs to ‘lead differently’.

‘I believe that he is sorry for both ‘the way that the matter has been handled’ and for the ‘things that we simply did not get right.’ But this means he got to lead differently now,’

he said.

‘I worked for Boris Johnson when he was campaigning to be the Leader of the Conservative Party and our Prime Minister. He is an upbeat, optimistic campaigner.

‘He really does want to do what he says about leveling up. He knows he owes the voters in seats like mine the stonking majority that got him his own mandate.’

He had to develop the hide of a rhino to get though Brexit without going wobbly, as he removed the whip from over 20 MPs, battled with the EU in negotiations and forced the hand of both the Opposition Parties in his push for a general election. But the Conservative Party in Parliament and in the country is not his enemy. We want him to succeed. We want him to win.

But that means he’s got to listen to those MPs in Parliament and our members and voters in the country, and then use his judgement. No blinkers to drive hard through the Brexit quagmire now. This is a moment of reflection that must evolve into actions that drive us through to the next general election.

Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said the ‘mood was positive’ among Conservatives following an evening meeting on the Parliamentary estate.

He added:

‘So many people voted personally for Boris Johnson rather than voting for political parties.

‘Politicians have to accept that our bosses are the British people, and they voted for that, they put him in office.’

The Met confirmed they are investigating events on eight different dates at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.

The first is May 20 2020, the day of the ‘bring your own booze’ party held after Number 10 official Martin Reynolds, emailed 100 members of staff inviting them to a drinks event.

Next is June 18 when there was a gathering at the Cabinet office on the departure of a No 10 private secretary; and June 19 when there was a get-together in the Cabinet room in No 10 Downing Street on the Prime Minister’s 56th  birthday.

Also under the spotlight are events on November 13, the night of the departure of Dominic Cummings, the day when there was one gathering in the Downing Street flat and another in No 10 Downing Street.

Police are investigating dates which have been linked to Christmas parties in the Cabinet Office on December 17 and Downing Street on December 18, and leaving drinks for the former head of the Government’s Covid Task-force Kate Josephs.

They are also looking at dates when drinks were held at Number 10 on January 14 on the departure of two private secretaries; and leaving events for James Slack, Mr Johnson’s former director of communications, and one of the Prime Minister’s personal photographers in Downing Street on April 16 2021, the day before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Mr Johnson is said to have been at his own birthday celebration, BYOB gathering, and two leaving dos for senior aides where he gave speeches.

Rishi Sunak could also be involved, as he is understood to have briefly attended the birthday ‘party’ – although it was breaking up as he entered the room to attend a Covid strategy meeting.

The Mail on Sunday revealed details of the alleged ‘victory party’ held by friends of Carrie on the night of November 13, 2020, after Dominic Cummings had left with his belongings in a box.

He had allegedly lost a power struggle with the then Ms Symonds and other advisers.

‘There was the sound of lots of banging and dancing and drinking, and a number of Abba tracks – including a triumphalist Winner Takes It All,’  a source said.

A spokesman for Mrs Johnson said:

‘It is totally untrue to suggest Mrs Johnson held a party in the Downing Street flat on November 13, 2020.’

In a statement, the Met said:

‘Having received the documentation from the Cabinet Office on Friday 28 January, we are now reviewing it at pace to confirm which individuals will need to be contacted for their account. This prioritization will include reviewing all the material from the Cabinet Office, which includes more than 300 images and over 500 pages of information.’

‘If following an investigation, officers believe it is appropriate, because the Covid regulations have been breached without a reasonable excuse, a fixed penalty notice would normally be issued. Once the penalty is paid, the matter is considered closed.

‘Alternatively individuals may decide to dispute the notice. In these circumstances officers will consider whether to pursue the matter in a magistrates’ court.

How could Boris Johnson be ousted by Tory MPs?

Boris Johnson is under huge pressure over Party-gate, with speculation that he might even opt to walk away.

But barring resignation, the Tories have rules on how to oust and replace the leader.

What is the mechanism for removing the Tory leader? Tory Party rules allow the MPs to force a vote of no confidence in their leader.

How is that triggered? A vote is in the hands of the chairman of the Tory Party’s backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

A vote of no confidence must be held if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to the chairman. Currently that threshold is 54 MPs.

Letters are confidential unless the MP sending it makes it public. This means only Sir Graham knows how many letters there are.

What happens when the threshold is reached? A vote is held, with the leader technically only needing to win support from a simple majority of MPs

But in reality, a solid victory is essential for them to stay in post.

What happens if the leader loses? 

The leader is sacked if they do not win a majority of votes from MPs, and a leadership contest begins in which they cannot stand.

However, they typically stay on as Prime Minister until a replacement is elected. 

The issues that could take the heat off Boris over Party-gate

Russia threatening to invade Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has massed forces on the border of Ukraine, with the UK and US convinced an invasion is imminent.

Boris Johnson is expected to speak to Mr Putin later, and visit the region himself imminently.

Compulsory Covid vaccination for NHS staff

The government is preparing to U-turn on making vaccination mandatory for NHS staff.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is due to make an announcement later this afternoon.

The topic has been a flash-point with libertarian Tory MPs, and it will be a popular shift.

Cost of living crisis

Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been desperately putting together a package that could ease the pain of soaring inflation and energy bills for families.

The PM and Chancellor finally seemed to kill off the idea of delaying the £12billion national insurance hike beyond April over the weekend.

Ministers have also played down the prospect of a ct to VAT on energy bills. But there is set to be more targeted support for the poorest households.

pursue the matter in a magistrates’ court.

Party-gate: Boris says it’s time to ‘look in the mirror’ and ‘act now’

In a brutal intervention, Theresa May said Mr Johnson either ‘didn’t read the rules’ or thought they ‘didn’t apply’ to No10. ‘Which is it?’ she demanded
Ian Blackford was ordered to leave the House of Commons after accusing Boris Johnson of having 'wilfully misled' MPs over the Downing Street party allegations

Ian Black-ford was ordered to leave the House of Commons after accusing Boris Johnson of having ‘willfully misled’ MPs over the Downing Street party allegations

The Sue Gray update on the Party-gate scandal has revealed the Metropolitan Police has launched formal probes into the overwhelming majority of alleged Covid rule-busting gatherings in Number 10 and Whitehall.

Below is a breakdown of which events are now subject to a criminal investigation and which have been deemed not to meet that threshold.

The gatherings which ARE being probed by the police 

– May 20, 2020: BYOB garden party

The revelation came in an email, leaked to ITV, from senior civil servant Martin Reynolds to more than 100 Downing Street employees inviting them to ‘bring your own booze’ for an evening gathering.

The PM has admitted attending the gathering, but previously insisted he believed it was a work event which could ‘technically’ have been within the rules.

– June 18, 2020: Cabinet Office gathering

Ms Gray’s report revealed that a gathering in the Cabinet Office on this date is being investigated by the police. It has not previously been reported on.

The event was apparently held to mark the departure of a Number 10 private secretary.

– June 19, 2020: Birthday party for the PM

A Downing Street spokesman admitted staff ‘gathered briefly’ in the Cabinet Room after a meeting. A report from ITV News suggested up to 30 people attended and the PM was presented with a cake.

The broadcaster suggested the PM’s wife, Carrie Johnson, had organised the surprise get-together. Reports said Lulu Lytle, the interior designer behind lavish renovations of Mr and Mrs Johnson’s No 10 flat, briefly attended while undertaking work in Downing Street.

ITV News also reported that later the same evening, family and friends were hosted upstairs to further celebrate the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday in his official residence.

Number 10 previously said: ‘This is totally untrue. In line with the rules at the time the Prime Minister hosted a small number of family members outside that evening.’

The police probe relates specifically to the gathering in the Cabinet Room.

– November 13, 2020: Leaving party for senior aide

According to reports at the time, Mr Johnson gave a leaving speech for Lee Cain, his departing director of communications and a close ally of Mr Cummings.

– November 13, 2020: Johnson’s’ flat party

There are allegations that the Prime Minister’s then fiancee hosted parties in their flat, with one such event said to have taken place on November 13 – the night Dominic Cummings departed Number 10.

A spokesman for Mrs Johnson has previously called the claim ‘total nonsense’.

– December 17, 2020: Cabinet Office ‘Christmas party’

A number of outlets reported that a gathering was held in the Cabinet Office on December 17.

The Times reported that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case attended the party in room 103 of the Cabinet Office, that it had been organised by a private secretary in Mr Case’s team, and that it was included in digital calendars as: ‘Christmas party!’

The Cabinet Office confirmed a quiz took place, but a spokesman said: ‘The Cabinet Secretary played no part in the event, but walked through the team’s office on the way to his own office.’

– December 17, 2020: Leaving drinks for former Covid Task-force head

The former director-general of the Government’s Covid Task-force said she was ‘truly sorry’ over an evening gathering in the Cabinet Office for her leaving drinks during corona virus restrictions days before Christmas in 2020.

Kate Josephs, who is now chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said she gathered with colleagues who were in the office that day and added that she was co-operating with the Ms Gray’s probe.

– December 17, 2020: Number 10 leaving do

The Sue Gray update said the police are also probing a gathering in Downing Street held to mark the departure of a Number 10 official on December 17.

– December 18, 2020: Christmas party at Downing Street

The claim that kicked off the rule-breaking allegations is that a party was held for Downing Street staff on December 18.

Officials and advisers reportedly made speeches, enjoyed a cheese board, drank together and exchanged Secret Santa gifts, although the PM is not thought to have attended.

Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman, Allegra Stratton, quit after being filmed joking about it with fellow aides at a mock press conference.

– January 14, 2021: Number 10 leaving do for two staff members

A previously unreported gathering is being probed by the police. The Sue Gray update revealed an event in Downing Street for the departure of two Number 10 private secretaries is being looked at by the police.

– April 16, 2021: Drinks and dancing the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral

The Telegraph reported that advisers and civil servants gathered after work for two separate events on the Friday night.

They were to mark the departure of James Slack, Mr Johnson’s former director of communications, and one of the Prime Minister’s personal photographers.

Mr Slack, who left his Number 10 role to become deputy editor-in-chief of The Sun newspaper, said he was sorry for the ‘anger and hurt’ caused by his leaving do, while Downing Street apologized to the Queen.

The Telegraph quoted a Number 10 spokesman as saying Mr Johnson was not in Downing Street that day and is said to have been at Chequers.

The newspaper reported accounts from witnesses who said alcohol was drunk and guests danced to music, adding that it had been told that around 30 people attended both events combined.

The four alleged parties which are not being investigated by the police

– May 15, 2020: Downing Street ‘cheese and wine’ party

The PM, his wife Carrie, former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, and Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, were all pictured, in a photograph leaked to The Guardian, sitting around a table in the Number 10 garden, with wine and cheese in front of them.

Some 15 other people were also in the photograph, but the Prime Minister has insisted this was a work meeting, saying: ‘Those were meetings of people at work, talking about work.’

– November 27, 2020: Second staff leaving do

The Mirror reported that the PM gave a farewell speech to an aide at the end of November while the lock-down in England was still in place.

Other reports have said the leaving do was for Cleo Watson, a senior Downing Street aide and ally of Mr Cummings.

– December 10, 2020: Department for Education party

The DfE confirmed a social event happened after The Mirror reported that former education secretary Gavin Williamson threw a party and delivered a short speech at an event organised at his department’s Whitehall headquarters.

A spokesman acknowledged that ‘it would have been better not to have gathered in this way at that particular time’.

– December 15, 2020: Downing Street quiz

The PM appeared on contestants’ screens at the quiz but has insisted he broke no rules.

An image published by the Sunday Mirror showed Mr Johnson flanked by two colleagues, one draped in tinsel and another wearing a Santa hat, in Number 10.

Downing Street admitted Mr Johnson ‘briefly’ attended the quiz after the photographic evidence emerged but insisted it was a virtual event.

Three new gatherings not previously revealed were included in Sue Gray’s investigations.

These were a gathering in the Cabinet Office on June 18, 2020, to mark the leaving of a No10 private secretary, a third gathering on December 17, 2020 – on top of two already reported – to mark the departure of a No 10 official in Downing Street, and a new event on January 14, 2021, also in No 10, when two private secretaries left.

Two previously reported gatherings were not included in her inquiry.

These were drinks held at the Treasury on November 25, 2020 and drinks at the Department for Transport on December 16, 2020.

On the Treasury drinks, a spokesman said at the time: ‘We have been made aware that a small number of those staff had impromptu drinks around their desks after the event.’

A DfT spokesperson said: ‘Fewer than a dozen staff who were working in the office had a low-key, socially distanced gathering in the large open-plan office after work on December 16, where food and drink was consumed.

‘We recognize this was inappropriate and apologize for the error of judgment.’

Ms Gray revealed in her report that police are now investigating twelve bashes as potentially criminal - including four allegedly attended by the PM and some involving wife Carrie. However, this gathering in May 2020 is not thought to be among them

Ms Gray revealed in her report that police are now investigating twelve bashes as potentially criminal – including four allegedly attended by the PM and some involving wife Carrie. However, this gathering in May 2020 is not thought to be among them

Boris Johnson will visit Ukraine TOMORROW in show of support for nation as he urges Vladimir Putin to ‘step back from the brink’ of invasion 

Boris Johnson will visit Ukraine tomorrow in a show of support for the country – after warning Vladimir Putin to ‘step back from the brink’ of invasion.

Downing Street confirmed that the Prime Minister would sidestep the fallout from the Sue Gray Party-gate report by travelling to Kyiv for talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday.

That journey, made with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, will take place after an expected phone call with Putin today, as tens of thousands of Russian troops maintain their position close to the Ukraine border.

Fears of an imminent Russian incursion in Ukraine have grown in recent days, despite denials from Moscow and pleas from Zelensky to avoid stirring ‘panic’ over the military build-up on the border.

Mr Johnson said today he will reiterate that an invasion would be ‘bitterly and bloodily resisted’ by Kiev’s forces – as well as having major repercussions internationally.

Speaking to reporters in Essex this morning, Mr Johnson said: ‘What I will say to President Putin, as I have said before, is that I think we really all need to step back from the brink.

‘I think Russia needs to step back from the brink. I think that an invasion of Ukraine, any incursion into Ukraine beyond the territory that Russia has already taken in 2014 would be an absolute disaster for the world, and above all it would be a disaster for Russia.’

Boris Johnson will urge Vladimir Putin to 'step back from the brink' in Ukraine today as he prepares to visit the region

Boris Johnson will urge Vladimir Putin to ‘step back from the brink’ in Ukraine today as he prepares to visit the region

Ukrainian civilians train to resist a Russian invasion over the weekend

Nato powers have been urging Mr Putin (pictured last week) to step back from confrontation
Nato powers have been urging Mr Putin (pictured last week) to step back from confrontation

Diplomatic efforts are ramping up as Putin-backing oligarchs were warned there will be ‘nowhere to hide’ from new UK sanctions.

The Foreign Office is set to announce details of enhanced measures that could be used against ‘strategic interests’ of the Russian state. 

Targets could include financial institutions and energy firms as well as Mr Putin’s wealthy supporters.

Meanwhile, former MI6 chief Sir John Sawyers has insisted Russia can be deterred from pushing ahead with an invasion if the West makes clear there will be ‘costs’. 

‘It took all that time to produce EIGHT pages’: Anger and mockery as long-awaited Sue Gray report on No10 party-gate is published (and is just as lacking in detail as many predicted)

Britons today mocked the long-awaited Sue Gray report into Downing Street parties during lock-down for being a ‘whitewash’, with one tweeting: ‘You mean it took Sue Gray all that time just to produce 8 pages of content?’

A limited version of the senior civil servant’s report into the parties held between May 2020 and April 2021 was published today and condemned a ‘serious failure’ to observe the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government.

Social media users had earlier jokingly predicted that some of the report – which was issued at about 2.20pm today – would say ‘this page is left intentionally blank’. In reality, the second page actually stated: ‘This page intentionally blank’.

Others used the ‘I dunno, I think that’s a bit dodgy mate’ Inbetweeners meme when summarising the report as a ‘TLDR’ version – meaning ‘too long; didn’t read’.

Addressing angry MPs in the House of Commons today, Mr Johnson told MPs he will overhaul the operation in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office to address the concerns raised in the report, adding: ‘I get it and I will fix it.’

SNP Westminster leader Ian Black-ford was ordered to leave the Commons for failing to withdraw claims that the Prime Minister had misled the House.

Ms Gray has been working on the report since December 17 last year, meaning it has taken more than six weeks to be published. 

The Cabinet Office said that Ms Gray had provided an ‘update’ on her investigation to the Prime Minister, suggesting it was not the full report she was preparing before the Metropolitan Police intervened. Scotland Yard last week asked Ms Gray to make only ‘minimal reference’ to gatherings being investigated by its officers. 

Downing Street has so far refused to commit to publishing a fuller version of Ms Gray’s findings once the police investigation has concluded.

The version of Ms Gray’s report published online said ‘it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public’.

The Downing Street garden was used for gatherings ‘without clear authorization or oversight’ in a way that was ‘not appropriate’. The report reveals 12 events are being investigated by the police, including a gathering in the Downing Street flat and an event to mark Boris Johnson’s birthday in June 2020. 

Here are some of the best memes posted following its publication this afternoon: 

Earlier, Britons raised concerns over a ‘whitewash’ today after Sue Gray finally handed Boris Johnson a version of her inquiry into allegations of lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street

. People took to social media to share joke images surrounding the news such as a ’50 Shades of Sue Gray’ spoof, and a Hermes ‘sorry we missed you’ delivery note. 

Others posted pictures of a completely-redacted piece of paper and the popular Titanic ‘it’s been 84 years’ meme in a gag about how long the report has taken.

And here are some of the memes posted before the report was revealed:

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