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Downing Street requested Johnson-Gray meeting but will not publish minutes

DOWNING Street officials arranged the meeting between Sue Gray and Boris Johnson, a spokesman has confirmed.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said No.10 staff had initially requested the meeting so Mr Johnson could get an update on the progress of the report into partygate.

He also confirmed there had been another meeting between the Prime Minister and the Whitehall mandarin, around the time of her interim report being published.

Minutes of the latest meeting have been taken, the spokesman confirmed, but he said it had been a private meeting and they would not be published.

The confirmation comes less than an hour after minister Simon Clark told reporters it was Ms Gray who arranged the session several weeks ago. 

Reports of the discussion first emerged over the weekend, with No.10 and Sue Gray’s team disagreeing over who had arranged the meeting and what was discussed. The latest 

Critics say it casts doubt on the independence of Ms Gray’s upcoming report into partygate, and could be an indication of the government attempting to influence her findings. 

The spokesman said Mr Johnson did not request it, but rather his officials in No.10 did, and said he did not believe the Prime Minister was aware of the request. 

He said: ” As you’d expect, there’s a degree of official-level contact with the investigation team, to receive updates on things like timings.

“The potential for updating the Prime Minister on arrangements for publication following the completion of the Met’s investigation was discussed between number 10 officials and Sue Gray at official level earlier this month.

“Following that, Sue Gray’s office sent through a technical request for a meeting.

“To emphasise the meeting was not requested by the Prime Minister.” 

Asked again about who exactly suggested the meeting, the spokesman explained No.10 officials had done so.

He said: “As I say this was not a request of the Prime Minister. It wasn’t framed in that way.

“It was suggested it may be helpful to have that meeting.

“Obviously Sue Gray’s independent, it’s up to her whether she proceeds with any meetings with regards to her investigation.”

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