Boris wants Sue Gray to publish Partygate snaps to dispel 'Ibiza myth'
Boris Johnson wants Sue Gray to publish Partygate photos to help dispel ‘myth’ that Downing Street was ‘like Ibiza on a Saturday night’ during lockdown when she releases her report into Covid rule-breaking
- The report into lockdown parties at Downing Street will be published this week
- It comes as police concluded investigation after issuing 126 fines to 83 people
- Those fined included Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Boris Johnson is backing Sue Gray to publish photos as part of her final report into Partygate lawbreaking because he believes they help dispel the idea that Downing Street behaved like ‘Ibiza on a Saturday night’ during lockdown.
No10 is reported to be backing the top civil servant’s desire to include images of illicit gatherings by top officials and politicians because they help rather than hinder his position.
Ms Gray, who is preparing to release the final version of her lengthy investigation this week, was given hundreds of photos of events in Downing Street in 2020 and 2021 and is said to be considering including some to show the scale of events.
But a friend of the PM told the Sunday Telegraph that the images could help show ‘these matters have been thoroughly investigated and any useful lessons drawn’.
‘In the public imagination, for some at least, this was like Ibiza on a Saturday night in July,’ they added.
‘The publication of any photos would probably be a big help in introducing reality into the mix.’
It came as a war of words broke out yesterday over a meeting between the PM and Ms Gray, after both sides denied initiating it.
Yesterday, Sky News revealed Ms Gray and Mr Johnson met several weeks ago to discuss the report prompting Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner to demand the Prime Minister ‘urgently explain’ why the ‘secret meeting’ had taken place.
Separately, The Mail on Sunday has been told the pair discussed whether pictures containing intelligence officers could be published – something denied by No 10.
Mr Rayner said: ‘Public confidence in the process is already depleted, and people deserve to know the truth. The Sue Gray report must be published in full and with all accompanying evidence.’
Sue Gray (above) is set to publish her report on lockdown parties at Downing Street this week
Boris Johnson (above) reportedly met with Sue Gray several weeks ago to discuss the report
No 10 hit back, with a source saying: ‘The PM did not request the meeting and hasn’t tried to influence the outcome in any way.’
But then a spokesman for the inquiry disputed claims Ms Gray had initiated the meeting, which discussed whether photos from the parties would be made public.
Ms Gray’s report into lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street, set to be published by the end of the week, comes after the Metropolitan Police concluded its £460,000 investigation after issuing 126 fines to 83 people, including the PM, his wife Carrie Johnson, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
No 10 hopes that Ms Gray’s report will mark the end of the saga, which has dominated headlines despite the Ukraine and cost-of-living crises.
Tensions are also running high within No 10 over the fines, in particular the ‘gender divide’.
It is understood that about three-quarters of those receiving penalties were ‘young, female members of staff’. A source said: ‘It’s not a good look. The older males seem to have escaped lightly while younger staff who felt they had no option but to attend have been hit. It looks as if the old boys’ network – and expensive legal advice – saved them.’
Around 30 people, including the PM, have already been told they are likely to be named by Ms Gray. They have until tonight to lodge any objection. Mr Johnson will then face another inquiry into whether he lied to Parliament when he claimed that no laws had been broken in Downing Street.
Claims are also circulating around Westminster about a so-called ‘karaoke and cocaine’ party that young MPs – mainly Tories but at least one Labour – held in London but not on the Parliamentary Estate during the week of the local elections.
No 10 said the Sue Gray report was ‘completely independent’ and it was her decision what to publish.
Ms Rayner, like Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, has promised to resign if fined over the ‘Beergate’ meeting they attended in Durham.
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