THE PRIME Minister should be put on gardening leave until after the Met finish their investigation, a leading MP has said.

Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, said Boris Johnson should be subject to the same rules as most ordinary people.

It comes as tension mounts across Whitehall as civil servants, MPs and journalists await the publication of the Sue Gray report into parties and gatherings in Downing Street and other government departments.

Despite speculation that the report will be delayed, the Herald understands it could be published this week, with the team involved liaising with the Metropolitan police to determine how much of the contents can be released.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson PMQs LIVE as Downing Street braces for Gray report

Yesterday Met commissioner Cressida Dick announced her force will be investigating some of the reported parties and gatherings at Downing Street, after being passed information by Ms Gray’s team.

Mr Carmichael said this means Boris Johnson should now be placed on gardening leave, following typical practice for such events.

He said that people who are under investigation are usually placed on leave while proceedings are ongoing, to prevent them from attempting to prevent a fair investigation, influencing witnesses or destroying evidence.

The Lib Dems Home Affairs spokesman explained: “Since Boris Johnson is such a fan of spending time in his garden, it’s only fitting that he be placed on gardening leave and leave Number 10 whilst the police investigate. This will ensure he cannot try and abuse his position to get himself off the hook.

“Refusing to do so will show both the Conservatives’ utter contempt for the public and erode trust in this government even further.

“This truly is a Government in chaos, and every day the story gets worse. We have a Prime Minister who is at war with his own backbenches and desperate to cling onto power.

“With Downing Street under investigation by the Metropolitan Police for numerous lockdown-breaking parties, we must ensure that this investigation can proceed unhindered so we can finally see justice served."

The chairman of the Standards Committee Chris Bryant said Sue Gray was “reporting to her boss” and warned that her report “certainly isn’t” an independent investigation.

The Labour MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that people have built up “very high expectations” about the report and are wrongly interpreting it as a “quasi-judicial” process.

“There is always a danger that people have had very high expectations about what Sue Gray would do. Everybody’s referred to it as an independent investigation, which it certainly isn’t,” he said.

He added that he has “great respect” for the senior civil servant, and that she is an “independently-minded person”, but that the scope of the report is limited.

“In the end, she is reporting to her boss on her boss and her boss’s boss. This is not a quasi-judicial process,” Mr Bryant said.