The rapid conclusion and full publication of the findings of inquiries into parties held at Downing Street is now “essential” for public trust, Nicola Sturgeon has suggested.
It comes after Scotland Yard asked for the inquiry to make only “minimal reference” to the events being investigated by police.
The Metropolitan Police insisted officers have not asked for senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report to be delayed or placed any further restrictions on other events.
But the force said it remains in contact with the Cabinet Office team that probed potential Covid breaches in No 10 and across wider Government to “avoid any prejudice to our investigation”.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said: “For the events the Met is investigating, we asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report.
“The Met did not ask for any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed, but we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation.”
The statement indicates that Gray will either have to make significant changes to her report before publication or delay it until after the police inquiry concludes.
Scotland’s First Minister suggested that the sequence of events now creates a suspicion that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being aided at the “expense of public accountability”.
“This gets murkier by the minute,” Sturgeon wrote on Twitter on Friday.
“Sue Gray and the Met are in difficult positions but the sequence of events and the situation arrived at now creates the suspicion – however unfairly – that the process of inquiry is aiding Johnson at the expense of public accountability.
“I doubt Johnson cares about damage to the reputations of others – individuals or institutions – as long as he saves his own skin. But these things matter.
“Rapid conclusion and full publication of the findings of inquiries surely now essential for public trust.”