Suggestions that a meeting with the Prime Minister had been initiated by Sue Gray to discuss her long-awaited report on the lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street were dismissed by her spokesperson.
It comes after Sky News has revealed Boris Johnson has met the senior civil servant on the progress of his investigation.
The BBC reported that Ms Gray had initiated the meeting ‘to clarify her intentions’ about what would happen once the police investigation was completed and also raised the issue of whether photos of the parties would be released to the public.
But a Gray Inquiry spokesperson disputed that account of events and disagreed with the claim that photos were discussed at the meeting.
Number 10 was quick to respond with a source saying: “The Prime Minister did not request the meeting and in no way tried to influence the outcome.
“Sue rightly decides and it’s all done independently.”
However, the briefing war will only increase the pressure on the Prime Minister to explain the meeting with Ms Gray, given that the much-anticipated report has repeatedly been described as independent.
Mr Johnson said he wanted to release as much information as possible now to resolve the issue, so he would not have pressured her to drop the report, it is claimed.
The couple did not discuss the judgments Ms Gray was about to reach in the report, according to multiple sources.
But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner called on the Prime Minister to “urgently explain” why the “secret meeting” had taken place.
She said the public’s trust in the process had already been “spent” and people “deserved to know the truth”.
“He is a Prime Minister unable to take responsibility for the rotten culture he has created in Downing Street or to do what is decent,” she added.
“Sue Gray’s report must be released in its entirety and with all accompanying evidence.”
Read more: What is the Sue Gray report and what can we expect from the full findings?
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: ‘Any odor of sewing would make an absolute mockery of the report,’ she said.
Thusday, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that they have terminated their investigation in lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, and had imposed 126 fines on 83 people.
The nearly four-month-long £460,000 partygate scandal investigation has already resulted in fines for the Prime Minister, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak at a birthday party for the Prime Minister.
Sky News understands Carrie Johnson has also been told there will be no further action against her.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, who called on Mr Johnson to resign over his fine, said the investigation had shown “an industry-wide breach of the law in Downing Street… which reflects a culture and Prime Minister defines culture”.
The conclusion of the police investigation paved the way for the full release of Ms. Gray’s report on the parties.
A source close to his team said the goal was to release it as soon as possible, probably next week.
Sky News understands that discussions over whether or not to name the senior officials who have been fined are ongoing.
Mr Johnson is also the subject of a parliamentary inquiry if he misled the House of Commons about parties.
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