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Therese Raphael

Boris Johnson Is Spared But Hardly Off the Hook Yet

The long-awaited Sue Gray report won’t force the prime minister out of office. His fate will be decided by his colleagues now.

Not off the hook

Not off the hook

Photographer: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP

After weeks of waiting, there was no damning Sue Gray report. Instead, U.K. senior civil servant Gray released a short update on her investigation into the Downing Street parties that have dominated British news since the start of the year. But the lack of chapter and verse hardly means Boris Johnson is off the hook.  

The non-report was no real surprise. Gray’s hands were tied when the police decided to conduct an investigation of their own and barred her from prejudicing their findings by publishing a detailed report. Despite interviewing more than 70 witnesses and gathering hundreds of WhatsApp messages and images, she could only issue some broad conclusions. Eventually, however, the report will come out in full and Tory MPs will have to decide on a threshold for probity in public office. The fate of the prime minister ultimately rests in their hands.