Keir Starmer and Partygate buster Sue Gray 'broke FOUR rules' by announcing new job before proper process, Commons hears | The Sun

SUE Gray was today accused of breaking strict civil service rules by taking a job as Sir Keir Starmer's top aide.

The Government believes the under-fire Partygate inquisitor's dodgy appointment might have made FOUR breaches.

Cabinet Office Minister Jeremy Quin skewered Labour for "playing fast and loose" with the sacred Whitehall code.

And a chorus of Tory MPs lined up to condemn Sir Keir's hire – saying it "stinks like a rotting fish".

In a fiery Commons showdown Mr Quin slammed Ms Gray for failing to consult the appropriate watchdog before being hired by the Opposition chief.

He said: "The rules state that approval must be obtained prior to a job offer being announced.

"The Cabinet Office has not as yet been informed that the relevant notification to Acoba has been made."


Sue Gray has picked up a hammer and has wrought great constitutional damage

Starmer & Partygate buster ‘broke 4 rules’ by announcing job before proper process

Mr Quin raged Ms Gray had destroyed confidence in senior civil servants, failed to declare meetings with Labour and did not get approval to talk to the Opposition.

And he also blasted Sir Keir for taking a sledgehammer to Whitehall impartiality by poaching the top mandarin.

He said: "The party opposite talks about rules, they talk about transparency, they talk about standards in public life. Given all the constant talk, it's time they walked the walk."

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Ms Gray triggered a mammoth backlash from Tory MPs after she quit government late last week to join Labour.

Allies of Boris Johnson today seized on the appointment as evidence her Partygate probe last year was a stitch-up.

Ex-Cabinet Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said the hire "smashed to pieces the idea of an independent civil service, when we know that one of the most senior civil servants in the country was conniving in secret meetings with the party of opposition."

He threw into doubt Ms Gray's Partygate probe "which we now know was done by a friend of the socialists."

Labour's Angela Rayner tried to defend the controversial hire and shot back that BoJo's pals were "indulging in the conspiracy theories of the former prime minister".

Earlier Sir Keir refused six times to explain when he first approached Ms Gray with the job offer.

Who is Sue Gray? Partygate inquisitor who wants to become Starmer’s top aide

By JACK ELSOM, Political Correspondent

BEFORE the December of 2021, nobody outside Westminster had ever heard of Sue Gray.

But her name was soon on everyone’s lips as the nation waited months for her report into Downing Street parties during lockdown.
Her verdict was damning, accusing Boris Johnson and other leaders of creating a culture of booze that led to ministers and officials breaking the rules they had inflicted on the country.

From a trove of texts, pictures and interviews she painted a picture of brazen debauchery that saw staff be rude to cleaners and throw up in No10. 

The hammer blow sparked the steady spiral of the PM that ultimately led to his resignation.

Her appointment as Sir Keir Starmer’s top aide last night caused uproar with critics casting doubt on the entire probe.

Gray, 65, was never meant to lead the inquiry and was only asked when the Cabinet Secretary recused himself after being revealed to have attended a gathering.

Her appointment was widely welcomed, with Theresa May’s former chief of staff Gavin Barwell saying he couldn’t think “of a better person to put in charge of this review”.

Through a lifetime in the civil service she had built a reputation as a no-nonsense fair dealer of integrity. 

At the time she was the second ranking mandarin in the new Levelling Up Department following stints at the Cabinet Office and Finance Department.

In 2012 as Whitehall’s ethics chief she oversaw the Plebgate inquiry into Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell calling the Downing St cops “plebs”. 

Ahead of Partygate, Gray’s influence at the heart of government – for which is paid more than £150,0000 – led to her being dubbed “the most powerful person you’ve never heard of.”

But within SW1 she was well reputed as a hardened operator, famed for running a pub in Newry, Northern Ireland in the 1980s at the height of the Troubles with her husband Bill. 

Their son Liam is chair of the Labour Party Irish Society and a vocal party activist.

Yet the enigmatic mandarin has been known to let her hair down and belt out Grease on karaoke. 

Yesterday she brought the curtain down on her Whitehall career in spectacular fashion, resigning as second permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office with immediate effect.

And she wants to be back in a department she has never conquered – No10 Downing St. 

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