Sue Gray report: The questions that remain following publication of key findings

Boris Johnson has promised to publish the Sue Gray report in full. Credit: PA

The edited Sue Gray report into allegations of lockdown-busting gatherings in No 10 and Whitehall has been published.

In a carefully-worded statement, the Cabinet Office said Ms Gray had provided an “update” on her investigation to the prime minister, suggesting it was not the full report she was preparing before the Metropolitan Police intervened.

What did Sue Gray say about the impact of her report?

Scotland Yard last week asked Ms Gray to make only “minimal reference” to gatherings being investigated by its officers. As a result, Ms Gray said it was “not possible at present to provide a meaningful report” setting out all she discovered, due to the ongoing police investigation.

“As a result of the Metropolitan Police’s investigations, and so as not to prejudice the police investigative process, they have told me that it would only be appropriate to make minimal reference to the gatherings on the dates they are investigating.

“Unfortunately, this necessarily means that I am extremely limited in what I can say about those events and it is not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analysing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather.”

Which parties are missing from the report?

Ms Gray's report found 12 events at No 10 and in the Cabinet Office are now being investigated by the police, with the Met saying it will be investigating eight dates.

In her report Ms Gray said she looked at 16 parties - some of them took place on the same day.

Ms Gray does not go into detail about the parties which are under police investigation, saying she does not want to prejudice their inquiries.

The email sent by Martin Reynolds to Downing Street staff. Credit: ITV News

These dates are:

  • 20 May 2020 BYOB in the No 10 garden

Downing Street staff were invited to a drinks party in the Number 10 garden during the height of nationwide lockdown to "make the most of the lovely weather", an email shared exclusively with ITV News revealed.

The leaked email provided the first evidence of a party on May 20, 2020, when the rest of the country was banned from meeting more than one other person outdoors. The email was sent by the prime minister's Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, to over 100 employees in Number 10, including Mr Johnson's advisors, speechwriters and door staff.

It is thought around 30 people attended the event in the Downing Street garden, including the prime minister who claimed he believed it was a work event.

  • 19 June 2020 - Boris Johnson's birthday

Sue Gray’s update on her inquiry suggests police are investigating the gathering in the Cabinet Room in No 10 on Boris Johnson’s birthday in 2020, as reported by ITV News. It's alleged that the prime minister's wife, Carrie Johnson, helped organise a surprise get-together for him on the afternoon of 19 June just after 2pm.

  • 18 December 2020 Christmas party

Senior Downing Street staff joked about holding a Christmas party in Number 10 just four days after the event is alleged to have taken place last December, a recording leaked to ITV News revealed.

Staff can be heard laughing and making references to “cheese and wine”, while Boris Johnson’s then spokesperson Allegra Stratton remarked there was “definitely no social distancing.”

The recording is of a rehearsal on December 22 for Downing Street's proposed daily TV media briefings, which Ms Stratton was set to front before they were later abandoned.

Ms Stratton resigned in the wake of it.

A page from the Sue Gray partygate report Credit: Cabinet Office/PA

In addition, a 18 June Cabinet Office leaving party, two parties on 13 November in the Downing Street flat and a leaving party for a special adviser, two Cabinet Office parties on 17 December and a leaving do, a leaving party for two private secretaries on and a further two leaving parties on 16 April 2021.

Qhat does the report say about whether Downing Street staff broke the law?

Sue Gray was clear early on in her report that she was not making a judgment on whether any crimes had been committed, saying this was “properly a matter for law enforcement”.

But her general conclusions suggest that she at least feels that this is likely.

As well as describing some of the behaviour during the gatherings as “difficult to justify”, she concludes that some of the gatherings themselves represented “a serious failure to observe…the standards expected of the entire British population at the time”.

Given those standards were largely contained in the regulations, this is as close as Ms Gray was ever likely to come to concluding that the parties broke the law.

What is the Met's justification for not investigating the other events, including the  15 May 2020 cheese and wine party in the No 10 garden?

Ms Gray said that the gatherings the Met had accessed that were not subject to an investigation had, according to the police, reached "the threshold for criminal investigation".

However, Ms Gray said she decided not to publish factual accounts relating to events not under investigation by police because it would damage her overall findings.

In a statement, the Met Police said: "Our position from the start has been that, while we don’t normally investigate breaches reported long after they are said to have taken place, if significant evidence became available we would assess it. That is now the situation and why we have acted."

The Metropolitan Police said officers were reviewing “at pace” more than 300 images and 500 pages of information handed over from the Cabinet Office.

Will Boris Johnson or anyone else in Downing Street be given a penalty?

The report did not comment on whether Mr Johnson or anyone else involved in the parties, would be handed a fine - just as hundreds of ordinary people were who were found to have broken lockdown were.

Fines are a matter for the police, not for civil servants to determine. Fines could be handed out by the Metropolitan Police if they decide after their investigation has concluded that laws were broken.

The force said: "If following an investigation, officers believe it is appropriate, because the Covid regulations have been breached without a reasonable excuse, a fixed penalty notice would normally be issued. Once the penalty is paid, the matter is considered closed. Alternatively individuals may decide to dispute the notice. In these circumstances officers will consider whether to pursue the matter in a magistrates' court."Will we ever see the report in full, and when? 

The prime minister's spokesperson refused to comment on whether a full version of the report will ever be released, although, as ITV News Political Correspondent, Carl Dinnen, says there are enough people who "won't let this go, including quite determined Conservative MPs" that it would be difficult for the government to evade publishing the full report, especially as Mr Johnson promised to do so (although he refused to commit to publishing the report in the Commons after its publication).

Following a debate in the Commons, Downing Street said an updated report would be published once the Scotland Yard investigation into No 10 parties has concluded.