No10 admits it did instigate meeting between Boris Johnson and Sue Gray - but won't release minutes

Downing Street also said it would not be publishing a “cast list” of who joined the meeting from both sides

Published

Downing Street has admitted it did request a controversial meeting between Boris Johnson and Sue Gray ahead of the publication of her partygate inquiry despite initial denials.

Treasury minister Simon Clarke had insisted on Monday that it was the senior civil servant who “instigated” the meeting in the weeks leading up to her widely anticipated report into lockdown breaches in Downing Street.

But hours later Downing Street admitted it was “No 10 officials” who had requested the meeting earlier this month so that the Prime Minister could discuss the “timings and publication process”.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

No 10 also insisted Mr Johnson did not support allegations attributed to his allies that Ms Gray had been “playing politics” ahead of the publication of her report, which is expected this week.

Mr Johnson refused to comment on the details of the meeting during a visit to a school in south-east London, but said “of course” Ms Gray remained independent.

There are minutes of Boris Johnson’s meeting with Sue Gray but they will not be released, No 10 said.

Asked whether notes were taken, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I believe it was minuted in the usual way.”

Pressed on whether the information would be made public, he replied: “No, it was a private meeting.

“We wouldn’t publish details of a private meeting.”

Downing Street also said it would not be publishing a “cast list” of who joined the meeting from both sides.

The response came when the official was asked whether Mr Johnson’s chief-of-staff, Steve Barclay, attended.