2 MARCH 2023 | NEWS

The Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has offered senior civil servant Sue Gray the job of Chief of Staff for his party, which is currently ahead in the polls.

She was appointed by then-Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to conduct a report into a possible breach of Coronavirus laws in Downing Street amid the Partygate scandal.

She resigned from her role as a Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office with immediate effect on Thursday afternoon.

A Labour spokesperson said Sir Keir was “delighted” that “she hopes to accept the role subject to the normal procedures”.

However, there is a two-year discretionary period for Permanent Secretaries during which their appointment to new roles outside of Government could be blocked by the Prime Minister, due to a conflict of interest.

But it is unconfirmed whether Rishi Sunak intends to block Ms Gray from her Labour Party appointment.

Senior Conservative MP and former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg voiced his anger at the appointment on Thursday afternoon, dismissing it as a “left-wing stitch up against a Tory Prime Minister”.

Boris Johnson ally Nadine Dorries echoed Rees-Mogg’s sentiments, while Andrea Leadsom wrote on Twitter: “How can the ex-Head of Propriety and Ethics jump into a political role, in opposition to the government she just served? With no break? Seriously?”

Tory MP Simon Clarke responded to the “extraordinary news”, tweeting that “neutrality stood at the core of her credibility” over her Partygate investigation.

In response to the job offer, a “friend” of Boris Johnson told The Guardian: “The Privileges Committee have taken to Sue Gray’s report as the fundamental basis of their investigation, and they have got Sue Gray’s unredacted evidence.

“So I don’t see how if the Privileges Committee is going to proceed, how it can use Sue Gray’s findings, knowing that the orchestrator and investigator of those findings is now Keir Starmer’s Chief of Staff?

“Labour have scuppered the key evidential core of that investigation.”

It is anticipated that Ms Gray will accept Sir Keir’s offer, while a response is awaited from the Prime Minister.

William Hallowell
William Hallowell is a Journalism graduate and freelance reporter.


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