Ex-regulator calls for Sue Gray to be blocked from working for Labour

Former Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray should be blocked from working for Labour until at least next year, an ex-regulator said.

A Cabinet Office investigation into the potential conflict of interest in the case will report back today.

Peter Riddell, former commissioner for Public Appointments, said it would be “reasonable” for Ms Gray to be forced to wait before becoming Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff.

He said: “I think a substantial period is reasonable, mainly as an act of reassurance.”

“I think to reassure current ministers that their senior civil servants aren’t going to just be here today, gone tomorrow.”

“I think a period possibly lasting to the end of the year would be reasonable in that stage. It may well be longer than that, because there is a lot of strong feeling, not least among civil servants and ministers.”

Ms Gray is believed to have been in talks with Sir Keir as far back as last November when she is said to have still been advising the government about the Privileges committee investigation into Boris Johnson.

She quit with immediate effect in March when the discussions with the Labour leader became public.

The former senior civil servant’s probe into lockdown rule breaking in Downing Street triggered demands for Mr Johnson’s resignation.

Although the partygate report was published in May, Ms Gray is understood to have still been advising the government on the Privileges Committee investigation at the time of the talks with Labour.

An investigation was launched into whether her discussions with the Opposition complied with the civil service code.

Jeremy Quin, Cabinet Office Minister, gave a Commons Statement in March saying it was “unprecedented” for a serving permanent secretary to resign to seek to take up a senior position working for the Leader of the Opposition as he launched the civil service investigation.

The directory of civil service guidance states that contacts between senior civil servants and leading members of the Opposition parties should be cleared with ministers.

Parliament’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), is separately expected to advise the Prime Minister on whether the move is “unsuitable”.

Source: Read Full Article