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Civil servants ‘lobbied Sue Gray to have names removed’ from Partygate report

Civil servants ‘lobbied Sue Gray to have names removed’ from Partygate report
Up to 30 names were allegedly scheduled to appear in the report but only 15 appeared

Civil servants allegedly tried to waterdown Sue Gray’s report into Partygate and pressured her to remove names, according to reports.

Samantha Jones, the permanent secretary at No 10, reportedly discussed who should be publicly named in the report with MS Gray’s team ahead of publication.

According to the The Sunday Times, Ms Gray was lobbied to make changes on Tuesday evening by Ms Jones, cabinet secretary Simon Case, and permanent secretary in the Cabinet Office Alex Chisholm.

The report alleged that up to 30 names were scheduled to be included in the report, but in the end only 15 people featured.

A Whitehall source told the paper: “On Tuesday night, one last attempt was made to persuade her [Gray] to omit names from the report, but she made it plain to them the only way that was going to happen was if they issued her with an instruction.”

Certain details were also removed from the report, according to The Sunday Times, including references to music being played at an “Abba party” in the prime minister’s flat and the leaving times of the attendees.

Details about a leaving party for Hannah Young, a No 10 private secretary, were reportedly removed.

Downing Street firmly denies that any details were tweaked in the report. A No 10 source said: “It is untrue that anyone on the political side saw anything in advance or sought to influence it.”

A Downing Street official also claimed that Ms Gray had investigated whether two couples were caught having sex in No 10 on the night Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain left in November 2020.

Ms Gray reportedly couldn’t find enough evidence about the alleged incident to put it in the report.

In her report, the senior civil servant said that top officials, including Boris Johnson “must bear responsibility for this culture”.

She said that the public would be “dismayed” by a series of breaches of Covid regulations in Downing Street.

“It is also the case that some of their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture,” she added.

Ms Gray was due to investigate an “Abba party” that allegedly took place in the prime ministers’ Downing Street flat on the night of Lee Cain’s leaving do.

However the civil servant said that after the Metropolitan Police closed their investigation into the gathering she decided that “it was not appropriate or proportionate” to continue her own probe into the incident.