Sue Gray news – live: Legal checks delay Partygate report as Rees-Mogg insists PM will survive scandal

‘I’d rather be lead by a lawyer than a liar’: MP Russell-Moyle demands Johnson’s resignation

MPs and the British public will have to wait at least another day to hear from Boris Johnson about the findings of Sue Gray’s Partygate report, after it was revealed that legal checks delayed its publication.

Officials in Westminster are now said to be fearful the document may not become public until Monday due to a process of “legal scrubbing” currently taking place. This ensures that the final report does not unfairly identify junior staff or cut across the separate investigation by Metropolitan Police.

Ms Gray, the senior civil servant who is leading the Cabinet Office investigation into alleged lockdown-breaching parties at No 10, was given the green light by police to publish her report in full on Tuesday night. Reports from Sky News suggested she was in possession of photographs showing parties in Downing Street, including images of the PM, alcohol bottles and people stood close together.

Despite this, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said today he was “sure” Mr Johnson would “survive” the current storm. “He’s done so much for the country,” the Tory MP said of his boss, citing the furlough scheme and Covid vaccine rollout.


Johnson dominates today’s papers once again

The i goes with Boris Johnson “waiting on his fate”:

Meanwhile, Scotland’s The National calls out the PM for “lies upon lies”:

The Independent’s front page focuses on Johnson facing more accusations of lying, this time over airlifting pets out of Afghanistan instead of people.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the PM, though, according to The Daily Express:

And The Daily Mail seems to agree:

Sam Hancock27 January 2022 03:00


ICYMI: Sleaze watchdog attacks rule allowing PM to escape investigation

Parliament’s sleaze watchdog Kathryn Stone yesterday attacked the “bonkers” rules which prevented her office investigating Boris Johnson and other ministers over any alleged breaches of conduct rules.

The parliamentary commissioner for standards decried the “inconsistency” of current rules which allowed her to probe alleged offences by MPs but not ministers – saying it was causing public anger, writes Adam Forrest.

Speaking to MPs on the standards committee, Ms Stone confirmed she had not been able to look into alleged misconduct over Mr Johnson’s £142,000 flat refurbishment because donations had been received in his ministerial capacity.

Sam Hancock27 January 2022 02:00


Watch the full exchange: Starmer grills PM as Sue Gray report looms

The full exchange: Keir Starmer grills Boris Johnson as Sue Gray report looms

Sam Hancock27 January 2022 01:00


Kwarteng signals Gray report could be delayed until next week

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has indicated the Sue Gray Partygate report might not be published until next week.

Speaking to ITV’s Peston programme this evening, he said he is “100 per cent behind the prime minister”.

Asked whether the Gray report might not be published until Monday, he said: “I don’t know, I mean it hasn’t come out today. I read it might be the end of the week. But as you say it could be early next week.

“Let’s wait and see.”

When pressed if Boris Johnson would have to resign if it is discovered he lied outside parliament, Mr Kwarteng added: “All I’m saying is that he’s bound, as you would expect, by the ministerial code.”

Sam Hancock27 January 2022 00:24


Tories will decide whether to oust PM in ‘next few days’

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said the party’s MPs will decide on Boris Johnson’s future in “the next few days”.

The senior Tory figure said he was reserving “judgement” on the PM until the release of the Sue Gray report into parties in Downing Street during lockdown restrictions, but made clear Mr Johnson was now battling to save his premiership.

Sir Iain condemned the “appalling” social gatherings at No 10 and Whitehall, saying the government’s culture during the pandemic needed “serious leadership” – suggesting it had been lacking from those at the top.

Sam Hancock27 January 2022 00:01


Ministers urged to act as GPs in poor areas ‘have less funding’

In news not related to parties at No 10, government ministers have been urged to act after a report found people living in poor areas face worse GP services with less staff and funding compared to more wealthy parts of the country.

GP services in poorer areas are underfunded, under-doctored and have worse-quality outcomes, according to a report shared with The Independent from the Health Foundation.

In its report, the think tank warned the problem, if not addressed, would put the government’s levelling-up promises at risk, reports our health correspondent Rebecca Thomas. It added that 30 years of policies have failed to address inequalities in parts of the country and if ministers are serious about levelling up, they must “urgently” boost GP numbers in poorer areas and address unequal funding for these practices.

Sam Hancock26 January 2022 23:12


Watch: Alastair Campbell brands PM a ‘global embarrassment’

Alastair Campbell brands Boris Johnson a ‘global embarrassment’

Sam Hancock26 January 2022 22:46


Man who lost family to Covid explains significance of No 10 rule breaking

Richard Macvicar, who lost his mother, father and one of his sisters to Covid two yeasrs ago, told Sky News earlier why the government’s alleged law-breaking is such a big deal to him.

“We haven’t had the chance to grieve properly, as a family, and every time I see these reports on the television it just brings it all back,” he said.

“I would have loved 10 minutes with any of them just to say ta-ra. It breaks my heart.”

Sam Hancock26 January 2022 22:37


Opinion: My birthday is the same as the PM’s, we celebrated differently

Cake is about the only thing Hannah Fearn believes makes her birthday comparable to the PM’s in 2020.

It didn’t take much effort to remember exactly what I was doing on the afternoon of 19 June 2020. Boris Johnson was celebrating his birthday – and so was I. But while he marked the occasion by sharing cake and tea with 30 colleagues, his wife and a designer of garish wallpaper, my afternoon looked a little different. There was cake, but that’s where the similarities end.

The afternoon of my birthday was the first time I’d seen my parents, who live locally and are usually a central part of my family’s life, since the beginning of the first lockdown. I saw them alone that day because if my husband and then two-year-old daughter had come with me there would have been no way to explain why she couldn’t have a cuddle from her grandparents.

As a journalist it’s not beyond my imaginings that somebody I know could have told me, that day, what was going on in Downing Street that same afternoon in celebration of the PM’s special day. If they had I would have been devastated: my family felt hollowed out that summer, constantly anxious. We were all lonely without each other. Would I have preferred to meet my parents indoors and with their granddaughter? Of course. Would a 10-minute catch-up with 30 acquaintances have been invigorating at a personally tough time? Absolutely. But, of course, we were following the rules.

Sam Hancock26 January 2022 22:23


Govt ‘hiding’ amid refusal to answer questions on Channel crossing

Let’s step away from Partygate for a moment. The government has been accused of “hiding from questions” after it refused to put forward a minister or official to give evidence to MPs on the military’s increased involvement in tackling small boat crossings.

Former senior Navy and Border Force officials have meanwhile raised concerns about placing Royal Navy vessels in the Channel, warning they could serve as a “honey pot” and encourage more asylum seekers to cross, writes our social affairs correspondent May Bulman.

It emerged last week that the Royal Navy was to be put in charge of cross-Channel counter migration operations on the English coast, taking over from Border Force to take “operational primacy” of the situation.

Sam Hancock26 January 2022 21:57


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