Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has mentioned he doesn’t know who requested a gathering between the prime minister and Sue Gray over her partygate report, however is assured there was “no way” she would enable herself to be influenced by anyone.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, the cupboard minister additionally insisted Boris Johnson wouldn’t have intervened within the unbiased investigation, which is broadly anticipated to publish its findings within the coming week.
He mentioned the method had been “absolutely robust and rigorous”, stating the senior civil servant didn’t “pull her punches” in her earlier restricted report into lockdown-breaking events in Downing Street, which criticised “failures of leadership and judgment”.
Pressure has been rising on No 10 to clarify the assembly between Ms Gray and the PM, revealed by Sky News.
It is known the pair met at the least as soon as to provide an replace on the doc’s progress whereas it was being drafted, however a Whitehall supply mentioned that its contents weren’t mentioned at any level.
Opponents have demanded a proof in regards to the “secret meeting”, whereas a briefing conflict was sparked after sources initially claimed Ms Gray had initiated the assembly.
Her spokesman intervened to disclaim this, resulting in a clarification by No 10 that it had not been ordered by the PM personally, though there isn’t any dispute the suggestion got here from a Downing Street official.
Pressed on Ridge, Mr Zahawi mentioned: “I don’t know who called the meeting.
“What I do know is the prime minister would not and by no means would by no means intervene in an unbiased inquiry.”
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He added: “Let’s not create this air of doubt around this process, which has been absolutely robust and rigorous.
“I’ve little question about Sue Gray’s professionalism and integrity.
“There’s no way she would allow herself to be influenced by anybody.”
Mr Zahawi went on: “I don’t know what’s in the report, no-one knows until Sue Gray decides to publish it.
“That’s the suitable factor as a result of really she’s executed this, and executed it correctly.
“She hasn’t pulled her punches on the first report and I’m certain she won’t be pulling her punches on the second … if I know Sue Gray, she will deliver that report independently.”
Labour’s shadow treasury minister Pat McFadden informed Ridge: “I’ve got every faith in Sue Gray’s integrity and she is a civil servant of the highest integrity, we don’t know the details of that meeting, it’s not clear who called it, there’s different accounts of that, so it’s hard for me to say what was said there.
“I do place confidence in her integrity and let’s have a look at what she says when the report comes out.”
On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that they had ended their investigation into lockdown-breaking events in Downing Street and Whitehall, and had given out 126 fines for 83 individuals.
The conclusion of the police investigation cleared the way in which for Ms Gray’s report into the events to be printed in full.