The senior civil servant investigating allegations of a minimum of 9 lockdown-breaking events at Downing Road has been given entry to an in depth log of staff actions in and out of the constructing from safety data together with swipecards.
Whitehall figures say the inquiry by Sue Grey – who is predicted to publish a report of about 25 pages this week – has been “forensic”, trying in “granular element” at who was in the constructing for social gatherings, some of which went on into the early hours, and the exact timings of their arrivals and departures.
Johnson and his staff, in addition to civil servants and others who attended the occasions beneath investigation, are anxiously awaiting Grey’s conclusions this weekend. She has been assisted by six civil servants with HR expertise.
Many Tory MPs say they’re holding off from deciding whether or not to name for the prime minister to resign till they see its conclusions, and listen to the reactions of their constituents.
Rumours have additionally been circulating in authorities in current days that Grey might have particulars of yet one more gathering in Downing Road, presumably in the PM’s flat and involving shut buddies of his spouse, that has not but come to mild. Discovery of a tenth get-together when Covid restrictions have been in place would critically undermine Johnson’s makes an attempt to outlive the disaster.
However senior Whitehall sources additionally say the knowledge from data logs that file actions for safety causes could possibly be decisive, as they may have given Grey conclusive proof of who was the place and when, and the way many individuals remained after regular working hours – particulars that she would in any other case have lacked.
“This info is conclusive,” mentioned a supply who is aware of Grey. “This isn’t somebody saying ‘I noticed her or him at a celebration’. That is the proof of who was the place, how many individuals have been contained in the constructing at anybody time.
“She’s going to have been all that info, which is much extra helpful than individuals’s say so. It’s the proof.”
The supply added that the safety logs would additionally have allowed Grey to attract conclusions in regards to the tradition at No 10, which seems to have allowed events to have develop into common occasions. “When you get the data and you discover a big group all swiped out at 1am in the morning, then it appears to be like very very like it was a celebration and if that was occurring usually you’ll be able to choose from that.”
Associates of Grey who have labored together with her say she shall be scrupulously truthful but in addition “ruthless” in pursuit of the reality. One former colleague and good friend mentioned she was in no temper to permit civil servants alone to take the flak. “She has proven earlier than in earlier inquiries that she’s going to maintain civil servants to account as a result of she may be very robust on civil service behaviour, but when she thinks politicians or others ought to take duty she’s going to make that very clear,” the supply mentioned.
Whereas it’s doable that Grey will title some very senior civil servants and high-up figures in authorities in her primary 25-page report, she is predicted to observe precedent and never make public the identities of junior civil servants or particular advisers.
Their names are anticipated to be listed in one other doc that may stay confidential and be despatched to human assets groups in their respective departments, who would then be answerable for figuring out what sanctions, if any, ought to be imposed.
After one other torrid week for Johnson, which noticed the defection of the Tory MP Christian Wakeford to Labour, the prime minister has been spending the weekend calling backbenchers to attempt to shore up his place.
Fewer than a dozen Tory MPs are believed to have written to the chair of the 1922 Committee to demand a vote of confidence, however many extra say they may accomplish that if the Grey report concludes that the PM broke lockdown guidelines, and extra incriminating info emerges. If 54 or extra write in, a vote of confidence have to be held. If Johnson loses that, he has to resign. A gathering of the 1922 Committee on Wednesday shall be a key choose of the Tory temper.
Wakeford instructed the Observer that Johnson was doomed. “If Boris Johnson is hoping Sue Grey’s report will save his pores and skin then he’s in for a shock. The rot has already set in and plenty of of my former colleagues have already reached the conclusion that he’s unfit to steer the Conservative social gathering. Not simply because he’s an electoral legal responsibility however as a result of he’s truly unfit to run the nation.
“Are there sufficient of them to set off a management election? I’m positive there are. Will they undergo with it? That’s a matter for them. What I do know is that in seats like Bury South the voters have made up their minds about him. So it’s only a query of whether or not MPs select to hearken to their constituents or the social gathering whips.”
Ruth Davidson, the previous Scottish Tory chief, mentioned the PM was not match for workplace. “I feel one of the explanations he’s in such a deadly scenario isn’t just as a result of of the obvious rule-breaking, though that may be a huge half of it, however as a result of there’s a fatigue even throughout the social gathering and definitely by my MP colleagues for the drama that has been emanating from No 10,” she mentioned.