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Boris Johnson wants Sue Gray to publish photographs of illicit gatherings in Downing Street in order to dispel the idea that No10 was “like Ibiza on a Saturday night” during Covid lockdowns, The Telegraph understands.
A friend of the Prime Minister said Mr Johnson had made it clear that he would welcome the publication of photos acquired by Ms Gray's inquiry into alleged Covid-19 rule breaches. It is understood that Ms Gray is preparing to publish photos illustrating the “narrative” of her report on illicit gatherings held at No10, and showing the scale of individual events.
Ms Gray’s final report is expected to be handed to Mr Johnson later this week and released shortly afterwards, but an ongoing process of allowing those who are named in the document to review its contents could delay publication.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph understands that at least one ministerial aide on the privileges committee, which will examine whether the Prime Minister misled the Commons over the parties, is planning to quit his government role in order to remain on the panel.
The friend said of Mr Johnson: “He takes a maximalist position that Sue Gray should publish whatever she deems necessary to satisfy the public that these matters have been thoroughly investigated and any useful lessons drawn.
“In the public imagination, for some at least, this was like Ibiza on a Saturday night in July. The publication of any photos would probably be a big help in introducing reality into the mix.”
Scotland Yard detectives investigating “partygate” allegations were handed more than 300 photographs by Ms Gray’s team in the Cabinet Office.
Responding to rumours that photographs showed Mr Johnson pouring a drink at one event, the friend said: “Even if there was a picture of him pouring a drink, we don’t live in Saudi Arabia and a drink is not against the law, including Covid guidelines.”
Last week, the Metropolitan Police concluded their investigation after handing out a total of 126 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN), including one to Mr Johnson for an event on his 56th birthday.
The three government aides on the privileges committee, including Laura Farris and Alberto Costa, are believed to have been advised by Commons officials that they cannot keep their posts in Whitehall if they take part in the inquiry into Mr Johnson’s conduct.
Andy Carter, a parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, is said to have decided to quit his role in order to remain on the panel.