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Scotland Yard has asked Sue Gray to make “minimal reference” to the Downing Street parties in her highly-anticipated Cabinet Office report into, er, the Downing Street parties.

On a day the senior civil servant’s report was reportedly finished, the Metropolitan Police demanded that anything that could “prejudice” its criminal investigation into illicit gatherings during lockdown not be published. In other words, Gray is shackled from revealing the most eye-catching details.

It is highly likely the Met’s statement will delay the report into lockdown-flouting parties further, thus buying Boris Johnson “more time” to reset his leadership.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced that the force had launched its own probe, despite previously insisting that it could not look into breaches retrospectively.

Downing Street is understood to be in communication with the Met over the inquiry, with lawyers locked in discussions with government aides about whether the report can be published “in full”, as was promised by the Prime Minister’s spokesperson.

This decision leaves more questions than it does answers. How would a factual report by a senior official about events the police are probing “prejudice” their efforts, especially if any names are redacted? Is it not possible for evidence of a crime to be brought into the public domain in advance of a prosecution? Must any publication of internal doings into any aspects of public life be censored if it proves potential evidence of wrongdoing?

For the time being at least, it looks like the Met has left Boris off the hook.