Partygate: Two Things That Everyone Is Pointing Out About Sue Gray's Report
Sue Gray’s report into the parties which allegedly took place throughout the pandemic is set to be released at some point soon.
After a stream of reports detailing fun get-togethers behind Downing Street’s doors throughout the pandemic – when the rest of the country was following lockdown rules – and various denials from No.10, the public are clamouring for the truth to come out.
The report is expected to sway various Tory backbenchers who are considering supporting a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson, and if it contains criminal evidence, the Metropolitan Police said they would open an investigation.
No.10 also skirted many pressing questions about partygate by deferring to Gray’s upcoming report.
However, political pundits want everyone to remember these two particular key points when it comes to the investigation.
1. It’s not actually independent
Gray’s report has widely been described as an independent investigation, as she is a civil servant and expected to be impartial.
However, it’s actually an internal investigation, not an independent inquiry.
As Labour’s Wes Streeting tweeted, “she is a civil servant who reports to her superiors” – meaning she is “in an impossible position, with an impossible task, but it is inaccurate to describe her as independent”.
The prime minister ordered the inquiry, and set the terms of reference for her report.
Gray is expected to be looking into the nature of the social gatherings with reference to the Covid rules in place at the time.
The report will only outline the basic facts of what happened, and will not necessarily distribute blame or say if there had been criminal activity.
.@KirstyWark described Sue Gray as ‘independent’ on @BBCNewsnight. This is incorrect. She is a civil servant who reports to her superiors. She is in an impossible position, with an impossible task, but it is inaccurate to describe her as independent.
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) January 12, 2022
2. It’s important the report is released in full
Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab has suggested only the summarised “findings” of Gray’s report will be shared with the general public, rather than the full investigation – prompting fears the government could hold some information about the inquiry into Downing Street back.
Johnson is set to receive the report first, and has promised he will head to Parliament to make a statement on Gray’s findings shortly afterwards.
The exact time gap between the prime minister receiving the report and his speech to the Commons is currently unknown.
Raab evaded questions about how many details the prime minister will share, telling BBC One’s Sunday Morning programme: “I’m not quite sure the shape and the form it will come, but the prime minister has been clear there will be full transparency around this.”
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, has released a statement which calls for the entire report to be published.
“Boris Johnson cannot be allowed to cover-up or obscure any of the truth when he has insisted on a hugely protracted internal probe to tell him which parties he attended and what happened in his own home,” she said.
“The Sue Gray report must be published in its entirety with all accompanying evidence.
“Under Boris Johnson, transparency in government has been eroded.
“The Conservatives have shown us how little respect they have for the rules, we’ve seen: private WhatsApp’s, missing phones, a Freedom of Information Clearing House, lost minutes of lobbying meetings – their cover-up culture has lost the trust of the British public.
“Bereaved families, our key workers and all those that diligently followed the rules have been insulted enough by the prime minister’s cover-ups and lies.”
One particular detail which people will be looking for in the report is whether Johnson misled to parliament at any point when addressing the said parties – a move which even his allies say is a “resigning matter”.
We’ve reached a new low. We have to directly, explicitly point out, if Sue Gray’s report isn’t published in full, that it’s a cover up. An inquiry on a subject matter (not on national security, which BYOB isn’t covered under) not published in full, is indeed a cover up. Simple.
— Dr. Jennifer Cassidy (@OxfordDiplomat) January 24, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.