Why Sue Gray's Move To Labour Matters
Sue Gray, one of the most senior Civil Servants in the country, has resigned from her position and has been offered the role of Sir Kier Starmer's chief of staff - this is not good news for the Conservatives.
Former PM Boris Johnson put Ms Gray in charge of the so-called Partygate investigation in which she gathered evidence over several months before publishing a damning 60-page report outlining her findings.
This duty was originally in the hands of Simon Case who had to pass the baton to Gray after he was found to have broken lockdown rules himself.
Within Sue Gray's report in May 2022, there were no direct proposals for Mr. Johnson to resign, but the mood music was stern, concluding that there were drastic "failures of leadership," and that "many of these events should not have been allowed to happen."
Conservative MPs have been infuriated by Ms Gray joining the Labour Party leader, citing how she was tasked with being politically impartial in her Partygate investigation.
The Daily Mail's front page today encapsulates the outrage amongst Conservatives with their headline: "Is This Proof The Partygate Probe Was A Labour Plot?"
Former Cabinet Minister Nadine Dorries also claims that "the Gray report was a stitch up," going on to say that the Partygate investigator "has destroyed the public's faith in the integrity of her own report.”
In response, Rishi Sunak is reported to be looking to block Sue Gray's transition to Labour’s chief of staff, a move he would want to prevent until after the next General Election due to the potential damage her insider information from Partygate could inflict on the Conservatives.
Sue Gray's move is still subject to the decision made by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments - they can delay the process, but cannot block the transition altogether.
Both Sir Kier Starmer and Ms Gray have said they will comply with the Advisory Committee's recommendation, but Gray would be able to work for Sir Kier Starmer after three months at the earliest.
“I want to ensure that we’re in a position to deliver for the whole of the United Kingdom,” Starmer has said, indicating that, if he wins the 2024 General Election, Sue Gray’s extensive experience in the Cabinet Office will be a crucial asset to the Labour Party who haven’t been in office since 2010.
Boris Johnson today has reiterated his position that he "didn't mislead the House," on whether he broke lockdown guidelines, explaining: "I believed that what we were doing was within the rules."