The long-awaited Sue Gray partygate report is finally set to be published this week, as the Prime Minister faces calls to explain the purpose of a "secret" meeting with the senior civil servant. Reports have suggested the document, expected to be published in the coming days, will feature photographs of illegal gatherings.
It was also reported that top civil servant Simon Case will be particularly hard-hit by the contents, despite the fact he was not fined over the scandal.
It follows the conclusion of a separate inquiry by the Metropolitan Police into Covid rule-breaking events at the heart of Government, which saw a total of 83 people receive at least one fixed-penalty notice (FPN) each for attending events over eight separate days. Boris Johnson received just one fine, for his 56th birthday gathering in June 2020 when indoor mixing was banned, along with his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Here’s all you need to know about Sue Gray, her report, and when to expect it to be published.
When will the Sue Gray report be published?
The publication of the Sue Gray report is apparently imminent, with it expected to be made public in full sometime this week. Earlier this month, it was reported that the report would be ready to publish by the end of May at the latest.
How to read the Sue Gray report
A version of the Sue Gray report was published in the afternoon of January 31st, 2022 on the UK Government website.
The report is 12 pages long and can be downloaded as a PDF.
The document outlines the methodology of Ms Gray’s investigation, and a series of statements summarising the general findings of her work.
"Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify,” reads the first line of the findings.
"At least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time,” the report continues.
“At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings, the risks they presented to public health and how they might appear to the public. There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times. Some of the events should not have been allowed to take place. Other events should not have been allowed to develop as they did.”
Who is Sue Gray?
Having been named by in a BBC report as "the most powerful person you've never heard of", Sue Gray is the senior civil servant who has been put in charge of the inquiry.
Ms Gray currently holds the position of second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
She will publish her findings in a report, although Downing Street has been considering which elements of her work will be made public, considering a police investigation is also underway.
Ms Gray investigated the senior government minister Damian Green in 2017, with her findings triggering his resignation after she found he had broken ministerial code.
It was this experience in previous high-profile investigations that singled her out for this task.
What is the Sue Gray report?
According to a statement from the Cabinet Office, the main goal of Sue Gray's report is to "establish swiftly a general understanding of the nature of the gatherings, including attendance, the setting and the purpose, with reference to adherence to the guidance in place at the time".
The inquiry was established to investigate events that took place over the last 18 months, particularly alleged gatherings at Downing Street on November 27th and December 18th 2020, one at the Department for Education on December 10th, and two leaving parties at Downing Street on April 16th 2021.
Since the beginning of the inquiry, it has also been confirmed that “credible allegations relating to other gatherings” could also be investigated.
Ms Gray's team were able to examine "all relevant records" and "speak to members of staff" as witnesses, including access to emails, employees' schedules, calendar invites, and texts.
Additional reporting by PA.