Two hugely important and controversial reports are set to be released in the coming week – but it seems the authorities behind them are so worried about how they’ll be taken that they won’t let us read them in their entirety.
We’re being led to believe that the Sue Gray’s report on Partygate is likely to come out first – probably on Monday.
But the amount of detail released to the public will be decided by Boris Johnson, according to Deputy PM Dominic Raab.
That’s a perverse decision, isn’t it? He’s the one the report is about!
Worse than that is the claim that the report won’t be based on all the information that it should use, because officials at 10 Downing Street have withheld it.
It seems that, even after the Information Commissioner’s Office intervened to warn that withholding or deleting information is against the law, at least three Downing Street employees have done so – in fear.
The claim adds more damage to Johnson’s credibility, after allegations were made that his whips were blackmailing MPs into withholding letters of “no confidence” in his leadership and Nusrat Ghani said that, after she was sacked as a minister over her “Muslimness”, Johnson advised her to complain by using the wrong method.
It seems increasingly that, despite the fact that we all know what it should say, Ms Gray’s report won’t be worth the time it will take for us to hear it.
The other document that should become public – on Tuesday – is the long-awaited Forde Report into alleged mishandling of anti-Semitism claims by Labour Party officers.
This was prompted after an internal party report, The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014-2019 was leaked to the public.
It asserted that factionalism in the party – by right-wing senior managers – was responsible for failures to properly handle allegations of racism and anti-Semitism (a claim that has been corroborated to a great extent by the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on claims that the party was institutionally anti-Semitic).
The report was originally due in early 2021. After being delayed for an entire year, it is expected to go before members of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee on Tuesday (January 25).
But any copy of it that is seen by the public is likely to appear only in edited form.
For any member of the public, the editing of both reports raises the same concern: what do Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have to hide?
Both these reports are on matters of public interest; we deserve to have the facts.
But they both cover activities that could reflect poorly on the prime minister and the Labour leader, respectively.
Shouldn’t they be prevented from having anything to do with these documents before they are published in full?
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