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The Prime Minister has been facing the threat of a coup after the allegations of lockdown being flouted in No10 fuelled unrest on the government benches.
On Sunday, it emerged that Ms Gray is understood to have been told about a ‘victory party’ held by friends of Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie to mark the resignation of Dominic Cummings.
And to make matters worse for the PM, an ex-No10 official has revealed Mr Johnson vetoed plans to allow bereaved families to set up bubbles with their close relatives when restrictions began to ease last year.
But despite a long list of alleged No10 parties and a police probe, sources told the Mirror that the Prime Minister is ‘privately reassured’ he would not be forced out when Ms Gray’s report is released later this week.
Boris Johnson is said to be sure that he will not be thrown out as Tory leader by his MPs when Sue Gray releases her report on ‘Partygate’
On Sunday, it emerged that Sue Gray (pictured) is understood to have been told about a ‘victory party’ held by friends of Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie to mark the resignation of Dominic Cummings
The senior civil servant’s long-awaited report into up to 18 parties is expected to be submitted to the Prime Minister within days.
But is has emerged that No10 staff who were found to have broken lockdown laws by attending parties may never be named under the terms of the police investigation, The Times reported.
The staff are unlikely to be publicly identified if they accept a penalty notice and do not contest the breach in court. Under police guidance, individuals are only named if they are charged and expected to appear in court.
Nikka da Costa, Boris Johnson’s former director of legislative affairs
It comes as Nikka da Costa, Mr Johnson’s former director of legislative affairs, wrote in The Times that the PM had shot down plans to allow bereaved families to set up bubbles with their close relatives when last year’s lockdown restrictions began to ease over fears it would ‘send the wrong message to the public’.
Costa said the veto came just weeks before Downing Street staff held two booze-filled leaving parties on the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
The former No10 official said she was ‘angry’ when she hears allies of Mr Johnson to ‘get a sense of proportion’ in response to allegations of No10 parties.
‘If we in No 10 could be that hard-hearted because we thought it was the right thing to do, then those involved in those kinds of decisions also owed it to the country to be as hard on themselves and their own conduct,’ Costa wrote.
She added: ‘If No 10 failed in that as a collective, as it seems clear, it needs to be recognised as a failure of and by those at the top.’
He had allegedly lost a power struggle with the then Ms Symonds and other advisers.
‘There was the sound of lots of banging and dancing and drinking, and a number of Abba tracks – including a triumphalist Winner Takes It All,’ a source said.
A spokesman for Mrs Johnson said: ‘It is totally untrue to suggest Mrs Johnson held a party in the Downing Street flat on November 13, 2020.’
In the latest twist of the lockdown party drama enveloping Westminster, it emerged that Miss Gray’s probe has been told about alleged messages from Carrie Johnson offering to organise a cake for the PM’s 56th birthday party in June 2020
METROPOLITAN POLICE SAYS ‘MINIMAL REFERENCE’ WILL BE MADE TO NO 10 EVENTS IN SUE GRAY REPORT
Commander Catherine Roper, who leads the Met’s Central Specialist Crime Command, said: ‘My officers will now examine this material in detail to establish whether individuals attending the events in question may have breached the regulations. They will do so without fear or favour following our normal processes.
‘In order to protect the integrity of the police investigation, as is appropriate in any case, and to be as fair as possible to those who are subject to it, the Met has asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report to the relevant events.
‘This will only be necessary until these matters are concluded, and is to give detectives the most reliable picture of what happened at these events. We intend to complete our investigations promptly, fairly and proportionately.
‘We have not delayed this report and the timing of its release is a matter for the Cabinet Office inquiry team.
‘The offences under investigation, where proven, would normally result in the issuing of a fixed penalty notice; accordingly our investigative actions will be proportionate to the nature of these offences.
‘Individuals who are identified as having potentially breached these regulations will normally be contacted in writing, and invited to explain their actions including whether they feel they had a reasonable excuse.
‘Following this process, and where there is sufficient evidence that individuals have breached the regulations without reasonable excuse, officers will decide if enforcement action is appropriate. If the decision is to take enforcement action then a report will be sent to the ACRO Criminal Records Office which will issue the fixed penalty notice. Recipients can pay the fixed penalty and the matter will be considered closed.
‘Should a recipient dispute the fixed penalty notice then the case will be referred back to the Met where officers will consider whether to pursue the matter in a magistrates’ court.
‘As the Commissioner said, we will not be giving a running commentary but we will continue to update when significant progress is made in the investigative process.’
The Metropolitan Police could now investigate the party as part of its probe, and call on Mrs Johnson to provide written evidence.
Meanwhile, it has been claimed that a tipsy Downing Street staffer boasted to No 10’s security guards after leaving an allegedly lockdown-breaking booze-up.
The aide allegedly told security guards ‘we’re the only ones allowed to party’ to officers as a group of people left No 10 in the early hours of the morning, according to The Sun.
A witness is claimed to have reported the jibe to Ms Gray’s inquiry.
Last week the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced officers have launched a criminal inquiry after assessing a dossier of evidence compiled by Ms Gray.
The police inquiry will reportedly focus on eight out of 17 parties looked at by Ms Gray.
The force then clarified it was looking at potential Covid breaches that are dealt with by fixed-term penalty notices.
MPs have urged Miss Gray to release an uncensored version of her report immediately, after Scotland Yard admitted it had asked Whitehall’s ethics tsar to ‘water down’ her document while the force conducts a criminal probe that may not conclude for months.
The highly controversial move has seen Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick accused of ‘an abuse of power’ by ‘interfering’ with the investigation and demanding that Miss Gray remove key details which are central to the row over ‘parties’ in No10.
It is understood that the senior civil servant will give Mr Johnson a redacted version of her report within days, rather than wait for the Met’s inquiry to end.
But Conservative MPs are now urging Miss Gray to make her report available to the public in full, in a bid to ‘end this madness’.
Meanwhile, Labour called for Mr Johnson to finally ‘end the circus’ over partygate.
Shadow minister Lisa Nandy told the Mirror: ‘There are a lot of bereaved families, there are a lot of people who made huge sacrifices who deserve to hear the truth from the Prime Minister.
‘If he won’t put an end to this circus then that report has to come out in full so that people can judge for themselves.’
Meanwhile, speculation mounted over an expected leadership contest to replace Mr Johnson, should he be deposed.
Yesterday Tom Tugendhat became the first Conservative MP to declare his intention to run in a leadership contest.
Asked in a Times Radio interview which will air today whether he would like to be Prime Minister, the Tonbridge & Malling MP said: ‘It would be a huge privilege.’
He added: ‘It’s up to all of us to put ourselves forward. And it’s up to the electorate, in the first case parliamentary colleagues, and in the second case the party, to choose.’
The former soldier added: ‘There isn’t a vacancy at the moment’, and insisted he had not been canvassing support.
Jeremy Hunt, the former Foreign Secretary who came second to Mr Johnson in the 2019 leadership contest, recently said his ambition to be leader had not ‘completely vanished’.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are expected to be the frontrunners in a contest, with other potential contenders including Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Home Secretary Priti Patel, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi and former Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt.
Source: Daily Mail