Keir Starmer considering appointing Sue Gray as chief of staff

Sue Gray report: The key points on Downing Street parties

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is reportedly considering appointing Sue Gray as his new chief of staff. Ms Gray oversaw the report into lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

The senior civil servant, who has spent decades at the heart of Government, currently runs the Union and Constitution Directorate at the Cabinet Office.

A Labour spokesperson said: “The process is ongoing. Nobody has been offered the job.”

Sir Keir recently dismissed former Chief of Staff Sam White.

He served in the role for a year but was is thought to have been unpopular with some of the shadow cabinet.

Allies of the Labour leader told Sky News that – due to the relative inexperience of his team – it is essential for the Labour leader to recruit a candidate who understands how to operate at the top level of government.

A Labour source told Sky: “[Sue Gray] knows how Number 10 works and she’s very popular with civil servants.”

Ms Gray’s report saw her investigate 15 events on 12 dates between May 2020 and April 2021, all of which involved people gathering during Covid lockdowns.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended eight of these events, some of which appeared notably drunken and rowdy.

Her report from that emails and messages included regular planning of socialising during strict lockdowns, but also found some officials trying to warn that the events were a bad idea.

In a damning critique of the Johnson administration, Ms Gray found that there were “failures of leadership and judgment in No 10 and the Cabinet Office”.

Ms Gray wrote: “The events that I investigated were attended by leaders in government.

“Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.”

She also found that security and junior staff were often treated in an “unacceptable” way.

The civil servant said: “I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff.”

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