Dominic Raab has refused to confirm whether the Sue Gray report into the Partygate scandal will be published in full, saying the amount of detail released is a matter for Boris Johnson.
The justice secretary and deputy prime minister vowed “full transparency” – but declined to give any specifics.
Gray, the senior civil service tasked with investigating claims of lockdown-busting parties at Number 10, is expected to publish the report in the coming days.
But, asked whether the public would be able to see it in full, Raab told the BBC: “Quite the way the process for it will be for the prime minister to decide. But there will be full transparency. He has said he will come back to the Commons and make a statement, so there will be full scrutiny.”
‘We welcome transparency’
Pressed on whether it would be published, Raab said: “I’m not quite sure the shape and the form it will come, but the prime minister has been clear there will be full transparency around this, so that people can see. We welcome that transparency, we need to learn lessons.”
Amid reports that Gray’s investigation has widened to include allegations that Johnson and his wife, Carrie, held parties in their Downing Street flat, Raab said Johnson would be expected to resign if he had misled parliament.
“The whole point of Sue Gray conducting this investigation is that she can look without fear or favour at whatever she wants to look at, and we avoid trial by media or the soap opera of things coming out without being substantiated,” the deputy prime minister said.
“What I would say in relation to any of this is, if it’s significant, it’s important, Sue Gray should look at it.”
Asked whether the prime minister should go if the flat parties did happen, Raab said he would not answer “hypothetical questions”, adding: “We’ve been clear that the ministerial code of conduct is there for everyone, including the prime minister.
“The code of conduct for ministers is very clear, that if you mislead parliament it’s a resigning matter.”
Raab also said there will be no “specific investigation” into a claim by a Tory MP that she was told she had been fired as a minister due to concerns about her “Muslimness”
Nusrat Ghani said she was informed by a government whip that her faith was “making colleagues uncomfortable” when she lost her job as a transport minister in 2020.
The claim was strongly denied by Chief Whip Mark Spencer who said her comments in an interview with The Sunday Times were “defamatory”.
‘No specific investigation’
In a statement, a Downing Street spokesman said Johnson had met Ghani after learning of her “extremely serious claims” in July 2020.
“He then wrote to her expressing his serious concern and inviting her to begin a formal complaint process. She did not subsequently do so,” the spokesman said.
Raab said that while Ghani’s allegation was “incredibly serious” there would be no investigation by the Conservative Party unless she submitted a formal complaint.
“He (Spencer) has categorically denied it in what can only be described as the most forthright and robust terms indeed,” Raab told Sky News.
“If there are any claims like this they should result in a formal complaint which allows a formal investigation to take place.
“As the Chief Whip has pointed out Nus hasn’t made a formal complaint. She was asked to do so. In the absence of doing so there will be no specific investigation into this.”