THE LibDems will table a motion in the House of Commons in a bid to force the Government to release the minutes of a secretive meeting between Boris Johnson and Sue Gray.

The Prime Minister reportedly recently met civil servant Gray face to face as the full version of her report is due to be published later this week.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi struggled to defend the PM on the Sunday broadcast rounds and repeatedly insisted he did not know who called the meeting or what had been discussed.

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Allies in Gray’s camp told the Guardian that the request came from Johnson’s team, while Downing Street maintains that Gray made the approach - but conceded they couldn’t rule out that approach was in response to an initial prompt from Number 10.

Johnson later refused to answer questions relating to the meeting. However, by noon on Monday, Downing Street admitted the meeting was first suggested by Number 10 officials. 

Labour have said reports of a secretive meeting with Gray are a “new low” for the Tory government.

In response, the LibDems are set to lay a Humble Address motion in parliament calling on the Government to publish the details of the meeting - including who arranged it.

The National: The first iteration of the Gray report was only 12 pages long due to the Met investigationThe first iteration of the Gray report was only 12 pages long due to the Met investigation

The motion will also call for the publication of all contact between Johnson and Gray during the course of the inquiry into breaches of coronavirus regulations in Downing Street.

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain, MP for North East Fife, will lay the motion in Parliament, following speculation over the origin and contents of the meeting between Johnson and Gray.

Chamberlain MP said: “The public would be rightly angry if it turns out Boris Johnson put pressure on Sue Gray to water down her report into illegal Downing Street parties. A lack of transparency at this pivotal moment risks undermining the entire inquiry.

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“Johnson repeatedly stood up in Parliament and said this report would be completely independent, and would provide answers about the rule-breaking parties in Number 10.

“We deserve to know whether this meeting really was an attempt to turn the report into a Downing Street stitch-up.

“If the Government refuses to release the minutes of this meeting, then Liberal Democrats will use powers in Parliament to force them to.”

The draft text of the Humble Address motion reads: "That an Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that she will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House the minutes from or any notes of any meeting or meetings, or any written or electronic correspondence between the Prime Minister and Sue Gray since the start of her investigation into alleged gatherings on government premises during Covid restrictions"

The National: LibDem MP Chamberlain will lay the motion in parliamentLibDem MP Chamberlain will lay the motion in parliament

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said reports that the PM held a secret meeting with Gray was a “new low” for the Government.

During a tour of a large Sainsbury’s store in Nine Elms, south London, on Monday, Starmer urged for Gray’s full report into partygate to be published as soon as possible.

He told journalists: “I always had a concern that as we got to the publication of the Sue Gray report, there will be attempts by the Government to undermine her and undermine the report.

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“That’s what we’ve seen going on over the weekend in recent days, a new low for the Government.

“What we do know is there was industrial-scale law-breaking in Downing Street – over 120 fines. So what we need now is the full report, all of the evidence.

“It’s the least the public is entitled to from this Government.”

The National: Starmer with Sainsbury's Chief Executive Officer Simon Roberts (right) during a visit to Sainsbury's at Nine Elms, south LondonStarmer with Sainsbury's Chief Executive Officer Simon Roberts (right) during a visit to Sainsbury's at Nine Elms, south London

Johnson earlier insisted Gray was “of course” able to act independently but declined to answer questions about a meeting he had with the senior civil servant about her report into partygate.

The PM said he would not give a “running commentary” but “it can’t be long now” before the report is out, adding he could say more then.

Asked if the report was still an independent one, the PM said: “Of course, but on the process you are just going to have to hold your horses a little bit longer.

“I don’t believe it will be too much longer and then I will be able to say a bit more.”

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The PM’s official spokesman, asked whether No 10 officials told Gray’s team that Johnson would like to meet her, told reporters: “No, this was not at the request of the Prime Minister.

“It wasn’t framed in that way. It was suggested it may be helpful to have that meeting.

“Obviously Sue Gray is independent, it is up to her whether she proceeds with any meeting with regards to her investigation.”

Asked to clarify which of the two parties suggested a meeting could be helpful, the spokesman replied: “No 10 officials.”