...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
On Tuesday, May 2, a statement was presented to Members of Parliament updating them on a review into Sue Gray’s departure from the civil service to join the Labour Party.
Gray, a former civil servant who led a probe into Downing Street parties, became Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff in March.
The statement, delivered by a Cabinet Office minister, will provide an update on the circumstances leading to the resignation of a senior civil servant and shed more light on how Gray switched from her Whitehall position to take the Labour job.
Some reports have suggested that Gray may have breached the Civil Service Code, but Sir Keir Starmer has expressed confidence that she has not broken any rules.
Who is Sue Gray?
Gray is a cat lover and a civil servant born in north London to Irish immigrants.
She joined the civil service straight from school and worked her way up to the Cabinet Office, where she led the Government’s propriety and ethics team for six years.
She is also a mother of two sons, one of whom is the chair of the Labour Party Irish Society. Gray is known for leading the so-called plebgate inquiry in 2012 after former chief whip Andrew Mitchell was accused of calling a policeman a “pleb.”
She also led two previous reviews into the behavior of Cabinet ministers, including an investigation into former prime minister Theresa May’s deputy, Damian Green, in 2017, which led to his resignation.
Gray’s Role in Downing Street Parties Inquiry
Gray’s most well-known role is her position as the head investigator concerning at least six alleged gatherings at Downing Street and across Whitehall in 2020.
Her inquiry triggered several resignations and eventually led to former prime minister Boris Johnson’s resignation in July 2022.
Tory Criticism of Gray’s Labour Job Appointment
Conservative MPs criticized Gray’s appointment to the Labour Party in March, with some suggesting that she may have been rewarded for her lockdown report.
Conservative MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees-Mogg stated that Gray was “a bureaucrat, who now turns out to be backing the Socialist Party,” and criticized her appointment as a sign that the civil service was not independent.
Analysis and Commentary
Gray’s departure from the civil service to join the Labour Party has been a contentious issue for some, with Conservative MPs expressing concern that her appointment may have violated the Civil Service Code.
However, Sir Keir Starmer has stated that he is confident that Gray has not broken any rules.
The statement presented to MPs on May 2 may provide more clarity on the matter.
Gray’s role in investigating alleged gatherings at Downing Street and across Whitehall in 2020 was significant and ultimately led to the resignation of former prime minister Boris Johnson.
However, her appointment to the Labour Party has been criticized by some Conservative MPs who suggest that she may have been rewarded for her role in the lockdown parties inquiry.
Overall, Gray’s career as a civil servant has been notable for her leadership in propriety and ethics issues and investigations into Cabinet ministers.
Her move to the Labour Party is likely to continue to be a topic of controversy and debate among MPs and the public.