The wait for Sue Gray’s report into lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall to be published has rolled into another day – with Boris Johnson still yet to receive the findings.
Sky News understands the report – which is being compiled by the senior civil servant – is still yet to have been sent to Number 10.
It is believed the delay is in part due to Ms Gray wanting to run the document past lawyers, HR and the Metropolitan Police to make sure the document can be published in full.
It was thought that on Wednesday a delicate checking process was being carried out to ensure a duty of care was being given to Downing Street staff who may be implicated in the report.
Uncertainty surrounds publication of Gray report
The prime minister has vowed to make a statement and answer questions in the House of Commons once the long-awaited Gray report has eventually been made public
Suggestions that this could happen on Wednesday afternoon were dealt a blow after the Commons adjourned almost three hours early, before 5pm.
If the Gray report is received by Downing Street this morning, it is possible that MPs could have a chance to consider its findings in the Commons later in the day.
Read more: What could Sue Gray’s inquiry into No 10 parties mean for PM and who decides what happens next?
The Commons usually concludes its business at around 5pm on Thursdays.
However, it is thought many MPs are likely to be away from Westminster today, instead of attending ceremonies to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in their constituencies.
Expectations had been raised that Boris Johnson would address the Gray report’s findings in the Commons yesterday lunchtime.
But the timing still remains unclear.
PM fails to commit to publishing Gray report ‘in full’
But along with questions regarding the timing of the report’s publication, there is also speculation around just how much of Ms Gray’s work will be made publicly available.
Yesterday, Mr Johnson failed to explicitly commit to publishing the full report once the findings of inquiry are finally received by Downing Street.
Asked at PMQs by Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer if he will release the entirety of Ms Gray’s report, the prime minister replied: “We’ve got to leave the report to the independent investigator, as he knows, of course when I receive it, of course, I will do exactly what I said.”
Sir Keir said anything other than the document being published “in full” would amount to a “cover up”.
Read more: Which lockdown parties is Sue Gray investigating, and what has Downing Street said about them?
Sky News understands Ms Gray wants the report to be published in full and it will cover all the alleged events, not just those the police are not investigating.
It is believed the Labor Party could try and use parliamentary procedures to try and force the publication of the document in full if the government chooses not to do so.
Such an attempt could take the form of a “humble address”, effectively a message to the Queen demanding the publication of papers.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said it was the government’s intention to “publish it as received”.
‘Security issues’ could prevent entire report’s publication
But speaking to Sky News earlier yesterday, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the government would release the “findings” from the Cabinet Office inquiry.
She said there could be “security issues” which mean parts of it are “problematic to publish”.
Explainer: Who is party investigator Sue Gray?
Also during PMQs, the prime minister told MPs he would not resign as he continued to dodge questions about the investigations into Downing Street parties.
In the third successive Wednesday session dominated by partygate, the PM admitted he would have to resign if found to have broken the ministerial code – but remained adamant that this was not the case.
PM insists he will not resign
Questioning the PM, Sir Keir noted the ministerial code states that ministers who knowingly mislead parliament are expected to offer their resignation
“Does the prime minister believe that applies to him?”
Analysis: Boris Johnson knows he’s in the kill zone
Mr Johnson replied: “Of course, but let me tell the House that I think he is inviting a question about an investigation which is – as you know, Mr Speaker, I can not comment – and which he, as a lawyer, will know that I can not comment on. “
Sir Keir asked Mr Johnson whether, given he acknowledged the ministerial code applies to him, he would be resigning for misleading parliament over the partygate furore.
“No,” the PM replied.
With Police launch criminal investigation
The announcement by Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick that her force was investigating “a number of events” for potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations has placed more pressure on the PM.
Mr Johnson welcomed the probe and said it would “help draw a line under matters”.
But on Wednesday afternoon, Conservative MP Mark Logan told Sky News a “change to the infrastructure around the prime minister” was needed.
Analysis: Which Number 10 staff could lose their jobs as a result of partygate
Downing Street has said the PM is willing to be interviewed by police but does not believe he has broken the law.
Sky News understands the Met Police investigation will take “weeks, not days”.
Mr Johnson’s leadership has come under severe pressure amid the ongoing partygate scandal and he could face a vote of no confidence if more than 54 Conservative MPs submit letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee of Backbenchers.