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As Johnson waits, UK police seek cuts to ‘partygate’ report

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British police say they want parts of a key report into lockdown-breaching government parties to remain unpublished until they finish a criminal investigation

The Metropolitan Police force said it had asked for civil servant Sue Gray’s report to make only “minimal reference” to the events being investigated by detectives, “to avoid any prejudice to our investigation.”

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The request could further delay the publication of the report, which had been expected this week. Gray’s findings could deliver a major blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fragile grip on power.

The senior civil servant is probing allegations that the prime minister and his staff flouted restrictions they imposed on the country in 2020 and 2021 to curb the spread of the coronavirus with “bring your own booze” office parties, birthday celebrations and “wine time Fridays.”

Gray is looking into almost 20 incidents. This week police opened an inquiry into an undisclosed smaller number of them found to meet the force’s criteria for investigating the “most serious and flagrant” breaches of coronavirus rules.

Police have handed out tens of thousands of fines for breaching coronavirus rules since 2020, with miscreants facing a maximum fine of 10,000 pounds ($13,500).

Johnson has promised to publish Gray’s report in full and to address Parliament about its findings. He has denied personal wrongdoing and said he has “absolutely no intention” of resigning.

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