Sue Gray: Further delays in publication of Downing Street lockdown party report as Sheffield Council chief executive Kate Josephs awaits her fate

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Sue Gray’s report into alleged parties breaking Covid rules in Downing Street remains in limbo as legal checks delay publication.

The official’s findings were due to be released on Wednesday – but that was delayed due to legal wrangling behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police have announced they are investigating several occurrences in Whitehall and Downing Street for potential breaches of Covid rules.

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Sheffield Council chief executive Kate Josephs could face an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into a party she attended during Covid restrictions.

There are a number of alleged parties that are under investigation, but it has not been publicly stated which events these are.

Sheffield Council CEO Kate Josephs has admitted to attending a party at the Cabinet Office on December 17, 2020.

Ms Josephs was working as the chief executive of the Covid task force and insisted on drinking before starting her new role at Sheffield.

She released a statement and apologized minutes before a national newspaper ran the story.

Sheffield Council leader Terry Fox has confirmed the authority is now taking legal advice on the matter.

A cross-party committee has also been set up to consider whether any future action should be taken against Ms Josephs. It is to meet today.

Ms Josephs is currently on paid leave from her £190,000 job, but Lord Paul Scriven has said she should now be suspended.

He said: “We now have a potential criminal investigation into this Cabinet Office party. Anyone else further down the council who has a serious allegation about their behavior and a possible police investigation would be put on hold.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield man James Slack, the Prime Minister’s former communications director, also apologized for a separate ‘party’ being held in his honor during the lockdown.

He has apologized for the ‘anger and hurt’ caused by a going away party thrown for him in Downing Street the day before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Mr Slack, who left Number 10 last year to become deputy editor of The Sun, said the party on April 16, 2021, ‘shouldn’t have happened when it did’ .

Speculation is mounting that Sue Gray’s report could be delayed until after the weekend.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, indicated on Thursday morning that the inquiry would not be discussed in parliament today.

He said the government wanted to ensure MPs could spend the whole day in the House of Commons today debating Holocaust Memorial Day.

The hon. member added that the government had not tabled any statements that would cut into debate time.

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