Boris Johnson has been challenged by a Conservative backbencher to commit at the dispatch box to publishing the full report on Downing Street parties, as his deputy, Dominic Raab, said it was “unclear” if there was further evidence to come.
Mark Harper, a former Conservative chief whip, told the Guardian that he had asked Johnson to reiterate at Wednesday’s PMQs his promise – made in private to MP colleagues – to publish the full report.
The prime minister had originally declined to do so when asked by Harper in the Commons during his statement on Gray’s update.
On Tuesday, Raab, the justice secretary, appeared to row back on commitments made by Johnson to publish further evidence once the Metropolitan police investigation into 12 separate events in Downing Street has concluded.
Speaking to LBC, Raab said: “It’s not clear to me that there is anything more, other than any conclusions that she will draw once that investigation is concluded, that will come forward.”
In an update published on Monday, Gray said she had “extensive factual information” including speaking to at least 70 people – which could not be published until the Met had finished its investigation. She said she had declined to publish details of several other events that were not under investigation, in order not to skew the findings.
“I will secure storage and safekeeping of all the information gathered until such time as it may be required further,” she wrote.
The police are examining about 300 photographs as part of the investigation into alleged parties. Raab told Sky News it was a “good question” why there were so many pictures of gatherings that were claimed to be work events.
He told Times Radio that he believed Johnson was safe from a Tory leadership challenge. “On the specific issues Sue Gray cited, I think he has addressed all of those questions in a fulsome way and, frankly, at the political level, my experiences in the chamber but also at the meeting of Conservative MPs – overwhelmingly MPs backing him, wanting to see us getting on with the job,” he said.
Most Conservative MPs said they would continue to reserve judgment on the prime minister until the police had concluded their inquiries. But Andrew Mitchell, a former international development secretary, said it was already doing “very great damage to the party”.
He added: “It is more corrosive in my judgment than the expenses scandal was and it will break the coalition that is the Conservative party.
“I think the problem is that Boris is running a modern government like a medieval court. You need to rule and govern through the structures, through Whitehall, through the cabinet for national security council.
“Many of us thought he would govern in the way he did when he was mayor of London, through being a chairman of a board, running a very good team – that is not what has happened here.”