Sue Gray partygate report could ‘end’ Boris Johnson’s premiership

Review's full findings are expected to be even more personally critical of the British prime minister

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be forced to resign after the Sue Gray review into claims of Covid-19 lockdown breaches is published, a report says.

Ms Gray, a senior civil servant, was forced to delay the publication of her investigation into parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall during England’s lockdowns after the Metropolitan Police started its own inquiry.

In an interim report published in January, the Cabinet Office official said there had been “failures of leadership and judgment” in No 10 over the partygate saga.

The Times, quoting an official it claimed was familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the prime minister and could end his premiership.

“Sue’s report is excoriating," The Times quoted the official as saying. "It will make things incredibly difficult for the prime minister.

“There’s an immense amount of pressure on her — her report could be enough to end him.”

Downing Street declined to comment.

Other reports in the i newspaper say Conservative rebels are preparing to oust Mr Johnson in the event of a poor showing at the local elections next month or if further fines are issued to him.

Scotland Yard has already fined Mr Johnson, along with his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, for attending his 56th birthday party held in June 2020, when Covid rules banned indoor gatherings.

Downing Street is said to be braced for Mr Johnson to receive a second fixed-penalty notice after police reportedly began issuing fines relating to a “bring your own bottle” gathering in the No 10 garden on May 20, 2020.

He reportedly attended half of the 12 gatherings being investigated by police.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons in London on April 20.  AP

Cabinet ministers on Sunday offered a defence of the prime minister, with Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden suggesting it was “quite a speculation” to predict Mr Johnson could be hit with more fines.

Mr Dowden and Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg backed Mr Johnson to lead the Tories into the next general election, which is scheduled for no later than January 2025.

Mr Dowden told Sky News there was a “very strong case for the prime minister remaining in office”, despite mounting pressure from his own backbenches for him to quit.

Senior backbenchers, including former minister Steve Baker, have in recent weeks called for Mr Johnson to vacate Downing Street after his handling of the rule-breaking allegations.

According to i, the PM’s critics have begun to co-ordinate and are “holding back” to wait for the local election results or for further fines to arrive in Mr Johnson’s inbox.

The paper quoted other reports that some rebels have prepared no confidence letters to be submitted en masse to the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs should the party take a beating at the polls on May 5.

Mr Dowden has admitted that the council elections will be “challenging”.

Updated: April 25, 2022, 10:05 AM