The PM’s official spokesman insisted no part of No 10’s scathing Partygate dossier had been altered, but acknowledged excerpts were shared with a social services worker on Tuesday
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A senior No 10 official had early access to parts of Sue Gray’s account at lockdown parties, Downing Street has confirmed.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman insisted no part of No 10’s scathing Partygate dossier had been altered, but acknowledged excerpts were likely shared with a social services worker on Tuesday.
Asked if there had been any interaction between No 10 and Sue Gray’s team over what should be included in the report, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Not to my understanding.
“The Prime Minister and his political team first saw the report on Wednesday morning when they saw confirmation from the Cabinet Office that it had been submitted.
“A senior No. 10 official had prior insight into elements of the report as part of his responsibility for the welfare of staff.
“But for the avoidance of doubt, no part of No10’s report has been altered.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said he did not know whether the official had held discussions with staff about the contents of the report.
It comes amid new questions about Ms Gray’s account, after it was revealed she had called off her inquiries into an “Abba party” at the Downing Street flat.
Ms Gray said she did not feel it was “fair or proportionate” to pursue the “limited” progress she had made in investigating the event after the Metropolitan Police began their investigation
No. 10 could not say whether Carrie Johnson had previewed the portion of the report relating to the meeting at the No. 11 apartment, but defended her presence as she lives there.
The speaker also could not say whether minutes were taken at the meeting.
When asked if there had been any communication with Sue Gray’s team and No10 staff about the content of the report, he replied: “Not to my understanding”.
It came as the Prime Minister’s official spokesman apologized for repeatedly making false claims about parties to journalists, while No 10 sought to unveil the initial revelations.
He said there were flaws in the handling of the saga, adding: “The Prime Minister has apologized for that and I’m happy to apologize for that too.”
But he refused to say if anyone will be disciplined, saying the public will not be informed if anyone is disciplined in the future, even anonymously.
“As standard practice, we do not acknowledge when individuals are being disciplined – it is an internal public service process,” he said.
The spokesman refused to say if he attended any parties, saying: “I’m here to answer questions on behalf of the Prime Minister – I’m not here to speak about myself as an individual.”
When asked if the Prime Minister lied to him, the spokesman said: “No, the Prime Minister has made his position on this very clear.”
The spokesman refused to say whether he had offered his resignation, telling journalists: “I will not go into detail on individuals.”
Asked if the Prime Minister accepted that he had misled Parliament, the spokesman replied: “Clearly… there have been incidents and instances where rules have been broken. So he corrected the entry and apologized.”
Asked who “assured” Boris Johnson that no rules would be broken, he said: “I will not go into who gave advice to the Prime Minister.”
Meanwhile, new advice introduced earlier this year – since Sue Gray’s interim report – will urge officials not to drink too much.
It clarifies that “excessive consumption, or consumption sufficient to impair judgment” of alcohol is not acceptable – but “occasional and limited consumption” may be acceptable in certain circumstances. Alcohol is not completely prohibited.
When asked if staff would be breath tested, the spokesman said, “No, there’s an element of judgment to be made here.”
When asked how he felt able to continue his work given false information, the spokesman told journalists: “I apologize for the way the subsequent events were handled.
“In addition, I will of course continue to endeavor to answer your questions as directly as I can.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-senior-no10-official-saw-27071659 Senior Official No. 10 saw portions of Sue Gray's Partygate report prior to publication day