PM prepares to make statement as Gray report delivered to Downing Street

Elliot Chappell
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Six months after the first ‘partygate’ allegations appeared, Sue Gray handed her report over to Downing Street this morning. The Cabinet Office will publish it later today. Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer will no doubt have plenty to discuss at PMQs at 12pm before the Prime Minister makes a statement to MPs responding to the Gray report. Johnson then has an awkward conversation to have with his backbenchers in a meeting of the 1922 committee and will address the public in a press conference.

Speaking of reports, Labour’s national executive committee met yesterday. Martin Forde QC wrote to the governing body of the party in March to say that his report (on the inquiry looking into the controversial ‘Labour leaks’ report) had been “finalised“. Several NEC members were therefore angry when the Forde report did not materialise in the papers for the meeting yesterday, and when general secretary David Evans explained the delay by telling them the report is being checked for “factual inaccuracies”.

The governing body did, however, approve the party’s plan to establish ‘campaign improvement boards’ (CIBs) – a proposal designed to crack down on councils “underperforming” in local elections that are “proving detrimental to electoral success and the party’s local reputation”. On the advice of regional directors and the Local Government Association Labour group, the NEC local government panel will agree the Labour groups (ie. the councillors and council leaders that run local authorities) to be improved. CIBs and the LGA Labour group will then develop improvement plans for each. CIBs “may represent different sections of the party” and must hold “experience and expertise” relevant to the particular issue the group is facing, and have “substantial experience” of local government.

Changes were agreed to the plan, which provoked a mixed response from NEC members when the papers landed – including that the boards are only to be established where there are “major concerns about equality and diversity, where’s there’s very low campaigning levels, poor resident engagement, or serious issues with governance or competence, and where other avenues have already been explored”. But it still includes provision for the removal of council leaders in “exceptional circumstances” where the Labour group fails to meet its targets. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

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