Johnson insists he will not try to block names in Sue Gray report

No further fines for PM as report into Downing Street parties to be published next week

Boris Johnson has thanked the Metropolitan Police for its investigation into lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street after it told him he will face no further fines. Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie were fined last month for taking part in his birthday celebration in June 2020 and police said 81 others have been issued with fixed-penalty notices because of the parties.

“I am very grateful to the Met for their work. I thank them for everything that they have done,” he said.

The prime minister is reported to be among 30 individuals notified by senior civil servant Sue Gray that they will be criticised in her report on the parties. She has given those named until Sunday afternoon to respond to the criticism ahead of her report's publication next week.

Mr Johnson said he would not attempt to prevent Ms Gray from naming those she holds responsible for the culture in Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdowns as well as for the parties themselves.


“That will be entirely up to Sue Gray and I will be looking forward very much to seeing what she has to say and fingers crossed that will be pretty soon next week,” he said.

Justice secretary Dominic Raab said the government had been transparent and accountable in its approach to the lockdown-breaking parties."What we have said is that it's right that if there's a minister who has been fined, of course there needs to be transparency around that," he told the BBC.

He said the government would publish Ms Gray’s report as soon as possible and that the prime minister would come to the House of Commons after that to face questions about it.

The police have drawn criticism for fining some officials who attended a party in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 but sparing Mr Johnson any penalty for attending the same event. A total of 126 fines were issued over attendance at the parties, leading Labour to accuse the government of industrial-scale lawbreaking.

"It's really important that politicians aren't involved in operational management when it comes to the police. They've got to investigate and go wherever the evidence goes. That's why I'm going to wait and see what Sue Gray's report reveals next week," London mayor Sadiq Khan told PA.

“But when you just reflect for a second, there is no other street in the country where more people have broken the law than Downing Street, there is no other street in the country where more fines have been issued.”

The news that Mr Johnson will receive no further fines has dampened speculation about his future as Conservative Party leader. But Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey made clear at the launch of his party's byelection campaign in Tiverton and Honiton that he still sees the parties as an electoral issue.

“Boris Johnson should resign because he broke the law and he lied to parliament, not on one occasion, but on many occasions. He’s not a decent prime minister for our great country and if he won’t go of his own accord, Conservative MPs need to grow a backbone and get rid of him. If they don’t, frankly I hope the voters punish the Conservative Party for treating the voters like fools,” he told PA.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times