The decision to withhold Sue Gray’s report was taken by the government not Scotland Yard, according to reports.
The Metropolitan Police did not object to the publication of the senior civil servant’s long-awaited report into alleged lockdown breaches at Downing Street, according to The Guardian.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said this means the report may be published “sooner rather than later”.
“So… after a few hours of it seeming like the Cabinet Office would not publish the Sue Gray report until the police have concluded their investigation, now the Met seems to have indicated they have no objection, the report may be published sooner rather than later in any case,” she said.
Earlier today, the Metropolitan Police said it will finally investigate allegations of government parties during Covid restrictions.
But the announcement sparked concerns that it could “reprieve” Boris Johnson and his officials, because it is unclear how long the police investigation will take.
Police chief Cressida Dick said there will be an investigation into a “number of events” held in No 10 and across Whitehall during Covid restrictions, due to a “threshold” of evidence being met, after weeks of public pressure on the Met to take action.
But just over a week ago, police refused to investigate lockdown garden party claims despite email evidence showing 100 people were invited and Boris Johnson admitting he went.
At the time, Scotland Yard suggested it would wait until a Cabinet Office inquiry led by civil servant Sue Gray concludes before deciding whether to launch a criminal investigation.
According to Cressida Dick, the Met investigation is only launched now because No 10 parties have reached the “threshold”.
The threshold includes evidence that those involved knew or ought to know that what they were doing was an offence, the fact that not investigating the parties would undermine the legitimacy of the law, and that there is little ambiguity around the absence of any reasonable defence.
She insisted that the Met “police without fear or favour” when challenged about why Scotland Yard has failed to investigate the government parties to date.
She said: “I absolutely understand there is deep public concern about the allegations that have been in the media over the last several weeks.
“Many many people including many Londoners, and indeed my colleagues have made huge sacrifices and they’ve suffered considerable loss during the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: “The investigation being carried out by Sue Gray is continuing. There is in ongoing contact with the Metropolitan Police Service”.
Labour called for Johnson to resign – with deputy leader Angela Rayner saying: “With Boris Johnson’s Downing Street now under police investigation, how on earth can he think he can stay on as Prime Minister?
“Millions of people are struggling to pay the bills, but Boris Johnson and his government are too wrapped up in scandal to do anything about it.
“Boris Johnson is a national distraction. Conservative MPs should stop propping him up and he should finally do the decent thing and resign.”