What does redacted mean? Term meaning as Sue Gray ‘partygate’ report released - will full inquiry be published

There have been claims that the Sue Gray report on the investigation into alleged Downing Street gatherings could be redacted - but what exactly does that mean?

An update on Sue Gray’s investigation into Downing Street parties during lockdown was released today. (Credit: Getty)An update on Sue Gray’s investigation into Downing Street parties during lockdown was released today. (Credit: Getty)
An update on Sue Gray’s investigation into Downing Street parties during lockdown was released today. (Credit: Getty)

The Prime Minister was under pressure after an update on Sue Gray’s report on Downing Street gatherings was published.

While the update provides a rough summary of Ms Gray’s findings, it doesn’t quite tell the full story just yet.

The full report is still to be published, with the Metropolitan police’s own investigation into the gatherings sidelining this until a later date.

There are fears that, despite Boris Johnson promising that the report would be published in full, parts will be redacted.

So when can we expect the full report, will it be redacted and what does this mean?

What does redacted mean?

Redacting a text mean to edit it in such as way that it completely removes or censors specific information.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term as “edited especially in order to obscure or remove sensitive information”.

Often in official documents, sensitive information may be covered in black to indicate that it has been redacted from the text.

It is often used in published government document which may include details such as personal information or information relating to state security secrets.

Will Sue Gray’s report be redacted?

While the Metropolitan Police are investigating 12 of the detailed alleged gatherings, Ms Gray released a limited update of the investigation.

Her initial findings were presented to the Prime Minister earlier today (31 January), with Mr Johnson providing an update to MPs in the House of Commons shortly after.

The Met Police has previously asked that Ms Gray make “minimal reference” to the alleged gatherings which are under investigation until police are finished with their inquiries.

Ms Gray said that it was “not possible at present to provide a meaningful report” while the police investigation was ongoing.

She said: “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.”

It is not yet known if a longer, unedited version of the report will be published once the police investigation has concluded.

The Met Police previously said that the alleged gatherings which are not being investigated by officers were not subject to limitations, however Ms Gray chose not to include this information in her update.

She said: “In respect of the gatherings that the Metropolitan Police has assessed as not reaching the threshold for criminal investigation, they have not requested any limitations be placed on the description of those events, however, I have decided not to publish factual accounts in relation to those four dates.

“I do not feel that I am able to do so without detriment to the overall balance of the findings.”

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