It was Sue Gray who sought a meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss her investigation into partygate, a minister said.
The official’s long-awaited report is finally set to be published this week and could feature photographs of illegal gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Over the weekend it was revealed Gray and the prime minister had previously met to talk about her investigation, but there were competing accounts of who asked for the meeting.
The BBC said Gray initiated the meeting “to clarify her intentions” about what would happen once the police investigation concluded. But, a spokesman for the Gray inquiry disputed this account of events.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today program on Monday, Simon Clarke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “My understanding is the meeting was held at the instigation of Ms Gray.
“The main thing is we get this report now in short order so we can resolve the final issues of what happened in Downing Street.”
On Sunday, cabinet ministers had failed to shed light on the circumstances of the meeting, as Labor said people “deserve to know the truth”.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi insisted during a round of broadcast interviews he did not know who called the meeting, or what was discussed,
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan also said she did not know who had organized the talks, adding: “I don’t follow anybody’s diaries.”
Top civil servant Simon Case will reportedly be particularly hard-hit by the contents of Gray’s report, despite the fact he was not fined over the scandal.
The Daily Telegraph cited a source as saying Case will come in for “stinging criticism” because “as the head of the civil service, the ultimate responsibility was his”.
Gray’s report will be published following the conclusion of a separate inquiry by the police into Covid rule-breaking events at the heart of government
It saw a total of 83 people, including Johnson, receive at least one fixed-penalty notice (FPN) each for attending events over eight separate days.