#SueGray hands over #Partygate report to Downing Street. But has she edited it?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Was he wearing it in Parliament when he deflected calls for an inquiry into his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The BBC is reporting that Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray has provided a report to Downing Street on her inquiry into lockdown-busting parties at Number 10 – but is it the inquiry report itself, or just an update?

If it is the inquiry’s report, the next question is whether it will be a full report, after the Metropolitan Police demanded that information on more serious offences that could have taken place should be removed to avoid prejudicing its officers’ investigations of them.

(Senior UK lawyers have said this is nonsense and her report cannot possibly prejudice a police inquiry, especially when one remembers that the offences concerned carry a penalty equivalent, in their words, to a parking fine.)

If the report does contain redactions in line with the Met’s demands, Boris Johnson is still not out of the woods, though.

Within police restrictions, it may still state whether parties took place, and it may still form a conclusion as to whether Johnson knew about them at the time. If he did, then he has since lied to Parliament and to the public about them – and should resign.

The problem with this, of course, is the same problem with the inquiry that has always existed: such an offence would be a breach of the Ministerial Code – but Johnson himself is the final arbiter of whether such a breach has taken place.

He may simply choose to excuse himself, as he excused Priti Patel when an inquiry found that she had bullied civil servants in the three government departments where she has worked.

That would be an extreme example of corruption at the heart of government, of course.

But would you put it past him?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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