'An utter farce': Fury as Met police asks Sue Gray to limit partygate inquiry

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The Metropolitan police has been highly criticised after it asked Sue Gray to limit her inquiry into Downing Street parties
The Metropolitan police has been highly criticised after it asked Sue Gray to limit her inquiry into Downing Street parties

FURY has erupted after the Metropolitan Police asked a senior civil servant to remove details of parties they are investigating from her inquiry.

Scotland Yard asked Sue Gray to limit her report after the force announced it would finally investigate Downing Street gatherings.

It comes amid fears the inquiry, which could threaten to remove Boris Johnson from office, would not be published in full.

READ MORE: Police ask for ‘minimal reference’ to events they're investigating in Sue Gray report

The Met has been widely condemned for the move, with the report facing now multiple delays after it was reported to be released days ago.

The SNP called for the report to be published in full to avoid a "Whitehall whitewash".

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said: "The Sue Gray report must be published in full and undoctored without further delay. This UK government farce has gone on long enough. People are understandably concerned that this increasingly looks like a cover-up.

"It is a fact that Boris Johnson broke the rules, lied about it, and misled parliament. This is an extremely serious resignation matter - and he must be held to account. The Prime Minister cannot be allowed to wriggle off the hook by using the Metropolitan Police investigation as an excuse to further delay or doctor the report.

"This cannot be another Whitewall whitewash. There must be maximum transparency. Any attempt to cover this up or delay the inevitable would be completely unacceptable - and would erode any last remnants of public trust in the Westminster government."

Maggie Chapman MSP, Scottish Greens justice spokesperson, said: “The Met initially refused to investigate reports of rampant Downing Street rule breaking, citing the civil service investigation.

"It is now seeking to prevent the publication of that civil service investigation, having apparently taken a belated interest in events. It is as yet unclear whether the Met has arrived at this absurd position through incompetence or some other means.

"But what is clear is that many people will understandably conclude that they are witnessing an establishment stitch up in a desperate attempt to save Boris Johnson’s premiership.”

Professor Richard Murphy said the move by the Met "feels like corruption".

The National columnists and economist said: "So let's be clear. The Met is asking that a report into Downing Street parties should not refer to Downing Street parties because the Met thinks it might have some issues to investigate about them now, even though until this moment it's denied that. This feels like corruption."

Scottish Greens communication officer Tom Freeman said: "This absolutely stinks. But why have we put so much stock in this report, just because the PM told us to? Everyone knows what he was up to."

The decision by the Met drew scorn from across the political spectrum, with Daily Mail columnists Dan Hodges labelling the whole real an "utter farce".

He said: "The whole thing is now an utter farce. It's simple. The sequencing should be: 1) Gray publishes in full 2) If there is evidence in the report of criminal behaviour, the police open their investigation into that behaviour on the basis of that evidence."

Meanwhile, the guardian's diplomatic editor called the force "inept" to the point it's "laughable".

Patrick Wintour said: "The Met took 18 months to investigate cash for honours and emerged with no prosecution. After months of refusing to investigate Partygate, PC Plod changes tack just before Gray report is published, and now wants her report bowdlerised. So inept it is laughable."

READ MORE: Why is it taking so long for the Sue Gray partygate report to be released?

Scottish lawyer Aamer Anwar tweeted: "First they wouldn’t investigate criminality @10DowningStreet & now @metpoliceuk are asking Sue Gray to leave out details of parties they are investigating for Covid rule-breaking to 'avoid any prejudice' to their investigation'. I smell lots of rats".

And columnist Ian Dunt questioned the need for the report to be limited at all: "I remain confused by how publishing the report in full prejudices a police investigation, given the offences being discussed do not warrant a jury trial."

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