Peston: Sue Gray report complete and will be 'very uncomfortable reading' for Boris Johnson

Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana reports on the reaction to the news the Met Police is investigating Downing Street parties and the wait for Sue Gray's report

An inquiry into alleged rule-breaking Downing Street parties could be published as soon as Wednesday and will "make for very uncomfortable reading" for Boris Johnson, ITV News understands.

The investigation, led by civil servant Sue Gray, has now concluded according to Political Editor Robert Peston, and it is likely to be published on Wednesday or Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police launched its own investigation on Tuesday morning after ITV News revealed a birthday party for the PM was held in June 2020, while the country was under Covid-19 lockdown rules.

"It will, I am told, be a report that will make for very uncomfortable reading for the PM and Tory MPs," Peston said.

He later added that he expects the document to be published in full "with no cuts, no censorship, no redactions" and it will be made public just "hours" after the PM receives it.

What Sue Gray has uncovered "looks very damaging for the prime minister," sources who have seen the report have told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston

Peston understands the report has not yet been sent to the prime minister, but likely will be on Wednesday or Thursday.

Sir Keir Starmer said things are “as bad as it gets for the prime minister, for the Conservative Party and for the country” and urged Mr Johnson to publish Ms Gray's report in full.

Reacting to the criminal probe, Sir Keir said: “Well let’s just look at the scale of it. The Metropolitan Police investigating Downing Street because of the behaviour of the prime minister, of the rotten culture at the heart of the Conservative Party.”

The opposition leader said some of the PM's Cabinet now "need to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves" why they're still supporting Mr Johnson, adding "it's time they spoke out".

He insisted: "The Sue Gray report should be published in full. There must be absolutely no cover-up now.”

"Some of his Cabinet need to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they're still supporting this prime minister," Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said.

Many Tories had said they were waiting to see Ms Gray's report before deciding whether to join the dozens of backbench Conservatives who have already submitted letters of no confidence in the PM.

A vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson's leadership will be triggered if 54 MPs submit letters.

Earlier on Tuesday, Number 10 said Boris Johnson welcomed the police investigation and is willing to be interviewed by officers.

The PM thinks it is "entirely right" for the Met to launch a probe, his spokesperson said, and everyone necessary in government will "fully co-operate" with inquiries.

Mr Johnson told MPs the police investigation will "help to draw a line under matters".

ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent sets out how the Met Police's investigation into alleged Downing Street parties will be carried out

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick confirmed a "number of events" held on Downing Street during the pandemic were being investigated.

There had been speculation that Ms Gray's report would be delayed by the police probe, but ITV News understands that Dame Cressida has raised no objection to the internal inquiry's findings being published.

The PM's spokesman said Mr Johnson will "co-operate fully" if asked to be interviewed by police.

Dame Cressida told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee: "As a result of the information provided by the Cabinet Office inquiry team and, secondly, my officers' own assessment, I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations."

This is the first time a government has been the subject of a police investigation since the cash for honours scandal in 2006.

"This isn't just a brush with HR now, this is a brush with the law for those being questioned," explains ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand

The commissioner declined to say which alleged parties are being investigated, nor would she put a timeline on when officers could detail their findings.

"The fact that we are now investigating does not, of course, mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved," she said.

"We will not be giving a running commentary on our current investigations."

But there will be updates at "significant points", she added.

Cressida Dick confirms an investigation has been launched:

Ministers who had just attended a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning told reporters of their support for Mr Johnson as they left the meeting.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the PM has got "all the decisions right" during the pandemic and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Mr Johnson has his support.

Unusually, Mr Johnson did not discuss the police investigation with ministers after learning before Cabinet that a police probe was being launched.

Until now the force had repeatedly rejected calls for an investigation to be launched, insisting there was not enough evidence to start a investigation - and that it was not policy to retrospectively look into Covid breaches.

But reporting by ITV News - and other news outlets - has provided documentary evidence, as well as anecdotal, that coronavirus rules were broken on Downing Street throughout the pandemic.

Leaked material - including a video of Number 10 staff joking about attending a party and an email inviting more than 100 staff to attend one - has made it harder for the Met to resist pressure for a probe.

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The force has been threatened with legal action over its decision not to investigate the long list of alleged rule-breaking parties, with the Good Law Project saying the stack of evidence means it would be "unlawful" not to look into the accusations.

The campaign group said it had told the Metropolitan Police Service it will "likely" take legal action to challenge any decision not to investigate.

But the Met said it would only start an investigation if an internal investigation - being carried out by civil servant Sue Gray - "identifies evidence of behaviour that is potentially a criminal offence".

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It appears evidence of potential criminality could have been uncovered by Ms Gray, however a statement from her team said her investigations would continue.

Number 10 has admitted a further gathering took place - a birthday bash for the PM during the first lockdown - although it would not confirm exactly which events it was looking into.

Up to 30 people are said to have watched Boris Johnson be presented with a cake in the Cabinet Room.

Number 10 confirmed "a group of staff working in No 10 that day gathered briefly in the Cabinet Room after a meeting to wish the prime minister a happy birthday. He was there for less than ten minutes.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps accepted that bringing the PM a cake during lockdown was "the wrong move".

The Met Police has also been in contact with a senior Tory MP critical of the PM who has accused Number 10 staff and government ministers of "blackmail".

Will Wragg, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said Number 10 had threatened to withdraw funding to his and other backbenchers' constituencies if they did not withdraw their opposition to Mr Johnson.

Mr Wragg said he will be meeting a Scotland Yard detective in the House of Commons this week, raising the prospect police could open an investigation. He also urged MPs to contact the police force if they had been threatened or intimidated.

On Thursday, Mr Wragg said "the intimidation of a member of parliament is a serious matter", adding: "The reports of which I'm aware would seem to constitute blackmail.

"As such it would be my general advice to colleagues to report these matters to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police."

The PM said there is "no evidence to support any of those allegations" but said he would "of course" look for proof.