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Boris Johnson leaving 10 Downing Street yesterday. Alamy Stock Photo
Under Pressure

Boris Johnson’s wait for report into pandemic parties at No 10 continues

The report was expected to be handed to No 10 today but had not been delivered by the time the Commons adjourned.

LAST UPDATE | 26 Jan 2022

BORIS JOHNSON’S ANXIOUS wait for an official report into No 10 parties continues as he again faced calls to quit over the row.

The Prime Minister spoke to Tory MPs in the Commons in an attempt to shore up his position while he waits for senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report on the parties in No 10 and Whitehall during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns.

The report was expected to be handed to No 10 today but had not been delivered by the time the Commons adjourned for the day, meaning Johnson will not be able to make a statement to MPs on its findings.

It is understood to have not been delivered by 7pm either.

At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Johnson rejected calls to resign and insisted he was “getting on with the job”, although he acknowledged there were people who “want me out of the way”.

The contents of Gray’s report could play a significant role in deciding the fate of the Prime Minister’s leadership, with Tory critics waiting for its findings before deciding if they will submit formal letters of no confidence in him or not.

An indication of how damaging the report could be for the UK government came when Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick announced a police inquiry was being carried out, based in part on evidence obtained by the Gray investigation.

‘Shameful spectacle of a Prime Minister’ 

Labour leader Keir Starmer suggested Johnson had misled Parliament about Downing Street parties, something which would normally require a minister to resign.

Asked if he would now quit, the Prime Minister said: “No.”

Starmer said: “We now have the shameful spectacle of a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom being subject to a police investigation, unable to lead the country, incapable of doing the right thing and every day his Cabinet fail to speak out they become more and more complicit.”

He said Johnson and his government had “shown nothing but contempt for the decency, honesty and respect that define this country”.

Johnson replied: “Of course he wants me out of the way – he does, and of course I don’t deny, for all sorts of reasons, many people may want me out of the way.”

But he said the Labour leader wanted him out because “he knows that this government can be trusted to deliver”.

He added: “We’re – and in particular I am – getting on with the job.”

The issue of what form the Gray report will be published in appears to be a source of tension between the inquiry team and No 10.

Sources close to the probe expect it to be published in full, although ultimately it is a matter for Johnson to decide.

Downing Street said it is the “intention” to publish the report in the format in which Johnson receives it.

“It is simply a reflection of the fact that we have not received the findings and don’t know its format, that’s why it remains our intention to publish it as received,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

The spokesman said he was not aware of the police asking to interview the Prime Minister in relation to the Met inquiry, but “as a rule I’m not going to be getting into individuals who may or may not be involved”.


Earlier today, ministerial offices in the UK said that Boris Johnson “authorised” for a charity and its animals to be evacuated from Afghanistan despite the UK Prime Minister calling suggestions he intervened “complete nonsense”.

In written evidence published by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, an official working in Peter Goldsmith’s office said the “PM has just authorised” Nowzad “staff and animals to be evacuated”.

Johnson, asked by reporters on December 7 if he had intervened in the evacuation last summer, called the suggestion “complete nonsense”.

Former Royal Marine Paul “Pen” Farthing, who ran the Nowzad shelter, launched a high-profile campaign to get his staff and animals out of Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul, using a plane funded through donations.

The UK Government sponsored clearance for the charter flight, leading to allegations that animals had been prioritised over people in the rescue effort.

The evidence published today showed shows Goldsmith’s official in the Foreign Office emailed colleagues working on the “special cases team Bronze”, saying: “[animal charity – name redacted] are a [details redacted] animal charity operating in Kabul and seeking to evacuation their [details redacted] members of staff (no animals).

“Equivalent charity Nowzad, run by an ex-Royal Marine, has received a lot of publicity and the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated, [animal charity – name redacted] are hoping to be treated in the same capacity.”

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