British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained braced for the publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray's inquiry into allegations of lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street.

Police in the UK have launched an investigation into multiple events.

The British Prime Minister said he welcomed Scotland Yard's investigation and hoped officers would "help to draw a line under matters" after his leadership was plunged into deeper jeopardy by the development.

Downing Street signalled he is willing to speak to the officers investigating alleged breaches of coronavirus rules over the past two years, but said Mr Johnson believes he has not broken the law.

Uncertainty was cast over the publication of Ms Gray's inquiry into claims of lockdown breaches, but it was understood her report could still be published in the coming days as her team hold discussions with police.

A No 10 source said they were yet to be told when Mr Johnson would receive the report, amid suggestions it could come as soon as tonight, in advance of its wider publication.

Downing Street initially suggested that elements of the long-awaited Cabinet Office inquiry that touch on potentially criminal acts may be paused now police are involved.

But after it emerged Scotland Yard had not objected to any publication, No 10 said it was not trying to block the report and said Ms Gray's team were in talks over "what may or may not be published".

Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said that officers are investigating a "number of events" in Downing Street and Whitehall, after being passed information from the Gray inquiry.

Mr Johnson told the Commons that he welcomes the Met investigation "because I believe this will help to give the public the clarity it needs and help to draw a line under matters".

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Call for Gray report to be published 'in full'

The British Prime Minister's official spokesman said that "anyone asked to, will co-operate fully" when asked if Mr Johnson is willing to be interviewed by officers.

Pressed on whether the British Prime Minister thinks he has not broken the law, the spokesman said: "I need to be cautious about what I say but I think that's fair to say that he does not."

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the Gray report must be published "in full" so there is no "cover-up".

Some Tory MPs have publicly called for Mr Johnson's resignation, but others have said they will await the publication of the Gray report before trying to trigger a vote of no confidence.

The Cabinet Office has not set out how the latest development affects the publication of the report, with a spokesman saying that work is "continuing".

Some Tory MPs have called for Boris Johnson to resign

Commissioner Cressida announced the investigation had opened at a meeting of the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee.

She said they are looking at "a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations".

The investigation was opened as a result of information from the Gray inquiry and "my officers' own assessment", Commissioner Cressida added.

She pledged to only give updates at "significant points" and declined to say which alleged parties are under investigation, nor would she put a timeline on when officers could detail their findings.

"The fact that we are now investigating does not, of course, mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved," she said.

Commissioner Cressida said investigations are carried out into "the most serious and flagrant type of breach" where individuals knew they were committing an offence or "ought to have known".

She said "several other events" that appeared to have taken place in Downing Street and Whitehall had also been assessed, but they were not thought to have reached the threshold for criminal investigation.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors, the Met's Covid-19 lead, will oversee the investigation being carried out by the special inquiry team, which works on sensitive and confidential work involving high-profile subjects and offences by those in public office.

The Met had been under pressure to open an investigation for weeks, with the Daily Mirror first reporting allegations of parties in No 10 during Covid restrictions two months ago.

Allegations of at least 19 gatherings

Fresh allegations have emerged at a steady pace since then and have now totalled at least 19 separate events.

The latest emerged yesterday when Downing Street was forced to admit Mr Johnson had a birthday celebration inside No 10 during the first lockdown.

Downing Street conceded staff "gathered briefly" in the Cabinet Room following a meeting, after it was alleged 30 people attended and shared cake despite social mixing indoors being banned.

ITV News reported the Mr Johnson's wife, Carrie Johnson, had organised the surprise get-together complete with a chorus of "happy birthday" on the afternoon of 19 June 2020.

Interior designer Lulu Lytle admitted attending, but said she was only present "briefly" while waiting to talk to Mr Johnson about the refurbishments she was carrying out at the couple's flat above No 11.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was understood to have briefly attended as the gathering was breaking up, as he entered the room to attend a Covid strategy meeting.

ITV reported picnic food from M&S was eaten and Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson's under-fire principal private secretary, was also said to have attended, as was No 10's director of communications Jack Doyle and head of operations Shelley Williams-Walker.

Social gatherings indoors were forbidden under lockdown laws at the time, with a relaxation of the regulations permitting gatherings of up to six people to take place outside.