Sue Gray report: what Boris Johnson told Tory MPs as he pledged to publish full report after Met Police probe
Boris Johnson met with Conservative MPs following the publication of Ms Gray’s ‘update’ which found “failures of leadership and judgment”
The Prime Minister did not commit to publishing the report in full during questions in the House of Commons, however there was a U-turn later on after a rare gathering of the whole Conservative party.
Here we take a look at what Boris Johnson told Tory MPs about the report, the Conservatives who have publicly criticised the Prime Minister and what the initial ‘update’ by Ms Gray found.
What happened when the Prime Minister met Tory MPs?
Mr Johnson faced angry backbenchers on Monday after his appearance in the Commons to answer questions about Ms Gray’s initial findings.
However, his promise to publish the eventual report in full and to shake-up how No 10 and the Cabinet Office are run appeared to calm tensions.
He insisted he was “making changes” which would include the creation of an Office of the Prime Minister with a permanent secretary to lead No 10.
Mr Johnson told MPs he was taking the issue seriously, underling how he had nearly died from coronavirus.
He also reportedly told his party that election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby would be offering him strategic advice.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the Commons, said the “mood was positive” among Conservatives following the meeting on the Parliamentary estate.
He added: “So many people voted personally for Boris Johnson rather than voting for political parties.
“Politicians have to accept that our bosses are the British people, and they voted for that, they put him in office.”
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow acknowledged it had been a “difficult day” but said there was support for Mr Johnson.
Mr Bristow said he left “absolutely pumped” and added that nobody in the meeting had called for Mr Johnson to go.
But Ms Gray’s full report and the result of the police investigation could yet threaten his premiership.
Mr Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings is also due to answer questions on the report online on Tuesday (1 January) which could provide more damaging details.
What did Sue Gray’s initial report find?
The senior civil servant revealed that of the 16 alleged gatherings she had deemed necessary to investigate, at least 12 were being investigated by police.
This includes at least four directly linked to the Prime Minister - either because he reportedly attended or the event took place in his flat.
The ‘update’ also contained information about three gatherings not previously reported on.
However, the Met Police investigation into the alleged gatherings prevented Ms Gray from delivering a more meaningful report.
The force revealed that it is reviewing more than 300 images and over 500 pages of information passed to officers by the Gray inquiry.
What did Boris Johnson say about the report?
Mr Johnson told MPs in the Commons: “Firstly, I want to say sorry – and I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.
“It’s no use saying this or that was within the rules and it’s no use saying people were working hard. This pandemic was hard for everyone.”
He added: “I get it, and I will fix it. I want to say to the people of this country I know what the issue is.”
However, he faced a hostile response from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who called him a “man without shame”.
Several of his own MPs also criticised the Prime Minister and the threat of a vote of no confidence has not yet been defeated.
The Conservative MPs who have criticised the PM after Sue Gray’s report
In the Commons, former prime minister Theresa May asked whether Mr Johnson either did not “read the rules”, understand them, or “didn’t think the rules applied to No 10”.
Former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell told Mr Johnson he “no longer enjoys my support”.
Tory MP Angela Richardson announced she had quit as a ministerial aide to Michael Gove, sharing her “deep disappointment” at the handling of the partygate row.
Aaron Bell, part of the 2019 intake of Red Wall MPs, recalled abiding by coronavirus restrictions for his grandmother’s May 2020 funeral before asking: “Does the Prime Minister think I’m a fool?”
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