Boris Johnson has not explicitly committed to publishing the full report on the lockdown parties in Downing Street and across Whitehall, as Westminster awaits the findings of the long-awaited inquiry.
Questioned in PMQs by Labor leader Mr Keir Starmer if he releases the full Sue Gray report, the Prime Minister replied: “We must leave the report to the independent investigator, as he knows, of course, when I receive it, of course I will do exactly as I say.”
Prime Minister prepares for release of ‘Partygate’ report – The Politics Live
The government’s “intention” to “publish it as received”
Questioning the Prime Minister, Sir Keir noted that the ministerial code states that ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament must tender their resignation.
“Does the Prime Minister think this applies to him?”
Mr Johnson replied: “Of course, but let me tell the House that I think he is asking a question about an inquiry which is – as you know, Mr President, I cannot comment – and which he, as a lawyer, will know I cannot comment on.”
Sir Keir asked Mr Johnson whether, given his acknowledgment that the Ministerial Code applied to him, he would resign for misleading Parliament over party fury.
“No,” replied the Prime Minister.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said the government’s ‘intention’ was to ‘release it as received’.
“Security Issues” with release report
Speaking to Kay Burley earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Liz Truss said the government would publish the “findings” of the Cabinet Office investigation.
However, the Foreign Secretary said there could be “security concerns”, meaning some parts are “problematic to release”.
Ms Truss also said Boris Johnson has his “100 per cent backing” as the Prime Minister faces calls, including from some of his Tory MPs, to step down over the party’s revelations.
The Foreign Secretary said she had not attended any Downing Street parties and had not been invited to any.
The crisis engulfing the Prime Minister deepened on Tuesday when the Metropolitan Police announced that it was investigating a “number of events” in Downing Street and across Whitehall for potential breaches of COVID-19[female[feminine regulations.
Read more: What could Sue Gray’s inquiry into the No10 parties mean for the Prime Minister and who decides what happens next?
Uncertainty on the publication of the report
Mr Johnson was expected to address the findings of the Gray report in the House of Commons on Wednesday lunchtime.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was understood that Number 10 would publish the compiled report around noon, then the Prime Minister would make a statement in the Commons after PMQs.
But the timing is still unclear.
Opposition parties had expressed concern on Tuesday that if released today they would not have enough time to read the document ahead of any possible statement from the prime minister later in the day.
Sky News understands that Ms Gray wants the report published in full and that it will cover all the alleged events, not just those which the police are not investigating.
Labor has called for the report to be published ‘in full’ – with Sir Keir saying anything less would amount to a ‘cover-up’.
The party could try to use parliamentary procedures to try to force the publication of the document in its entirety.
Such an attempt could take the form of a “humble address”, in effect a message to the Queen demanding the publication of documents.
Met Police launch criminal investigation
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced on Tuesday that the force was investigating “a number of events” for possible violations of COVID-19[female[feminine regulations.
Mr Johnson welcomed the inquiry and said it would ‘help draw a line under the questions’.
Sources have told Sky News that this investigation will take “weeks, not days”.
Downing Street said the Prime Minister wanted to be questioned by the police but did not believe he had broken the law.
His spokesman said he was not aware that the police had asked to question Mr Johnson, but “as a general rule I will not approach people who may or may not be involved”.
Photos from No 10 parties show PM next to bottles of wine
Legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg told Sky News that if Mr Johnson were to be questioned on bail he would be ‘clearly a suspect’ as he is suspected of having committed a criminal offence.
Mr Johnson’s leadership has come under heavy pressure amid the party’s ongoing scandal and he could face a vote of no confidence if more than 54 Tory MPs submit letters of no confidence to the committee of backbenchers. 1922.
Last night it was understood Ms Gray had received photographs showing Mr Johnson and other relatives with bottles of wine when the COVID rules were in place as part of his investigation.