Boris tipped to survive partygate unscathed as rebels turn attention to Harry and Meghan

Police U-turn on Boris party allegations is ‘farcical’ says expert

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The Prime Minister was handed a version of her inquiry into allegations of lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street today, by senior civil servant Sue Gray. A carefully-worded statement suggested that the “update” to the Prime Minister was not the full report after she was told to pare it back by Scotland Yard.

Mr Johnson had earlier insisted “I stick absolutely to what I’ve said in the past” when questioned about his reported denials of any wrongdoing to Tory MPs.

Downing Street has committed to publishing the report before Mr Johnson addresses MPs, though the Cabinet Office is yet to confirm when it will be handed over and further delays cannot be ruled out.

Ms Gray’s report was thrown into disarray when Scotland Yard last week requested that she makes only “minimal reference” to events that officers are investigating.

Asked about warnings that the inquiry will be a “whitewash” because of the changes, Mr Johnson said: “You are going to have to wait and see both what Sue says and, of course, what the Met says.”

The Prime Minister has publicly said he is “deeply sorry for misjudgements” surrounding events in No 10, but insisted no one warned him a garden party in the first lockdown would be against the rules.

In private, however, he is said to have told Conservative MPs who may oust him as Prime Minister over the saga that he has done nothing wrong.

“You’re going to have to wait and see the outcome of the investigations but, of course, I stick absolutely to what I’ve said in the past,” he said, when asked about those remarks during a visit to a freeport in Tilbury, Essex.

The row has sparked calls within and outside the Tory Party for his resignation.

But according to political expert Wolfgang Munchau, Tory MPs still hoping Mr Johnson will be soon out of Downing Street have already missed their chance.

The director of Eurointelligence wrote: “Whether there is foul play or not, events did intrude, and more will.

“The pandemic is fading, as life is returning to the status quo.

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“The Government is now planning big investments in northern English marginal constituencies.

“The threat of a war in Europe demands the attention of the prime minister.

“I am aware that a lot of people, including Tory supporters, are very upset about party-gate.

“But their attention span is not infinite. Soon they will turn their attention back to Prince Andrew’s court case, and Meghan and Harry.

“It is, of course, possible that Johnson may still have to go.

“New damaging revelations might emerge, but the stuff that has been coming out in the last few days is not quite of the same quality.

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“Watch out for evidence that shows him lying to Parliament.

“That would do it. But we doubt we will see such evidence.”

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced last week that officers have launched an investigation into alleged Covid-breaches in Downing Street and wider Government after being handed information from the Gray inquiry.

But it threw the publication of the Whitehall report into disarray when the force controversially asked Ms Gray to limit what she writes about events under investigation by officers.

Concerned over the prospect of jeopardising a police inquiry, Ms Gray was understood to have complied with the Met’s request.

The Prime Minister is expected to make a statement to the Commons later this afternoon.

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