Starmer accuses government of resurrecting 'a story about Sue Gray'
Rishi Sunak has slammed Sue Gray for refusing to cooperate with a probe into the ex-senior civil servant landing the job of Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff.
No10 said Ms Gray’s decision to snub the Cabinet Office investigation into her exit from Whitehall was “disappointing”.
Ministers have also warned that Sir Keir has serious questions to answer over her refusal to help with the inquiry.
Mr Sunak’s press secretary said: “The Prime Minister is not obviously involved in this process but it is obviously disappointing that Sue Gray was offered to cooperate and has chosen not to do so.
“I think what is more disappointing is that Keir Starmer is in a position where he could clear up very quickly when contact was made by his office, or by him, to Sue Gray, to uphold the integrity of the civil service and ensure that it is transparent and open.”
Security minister Tom Tugendhat said he was “surprised” the Labour leader was “not asking the person he nominated to cooperate with the civil service body that’s investigating”.
Labour has accused the Government of pursuing a “vendetta” against Ms Gray because of her role in the original Partygate investigation.Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor, labelled the Cabinet Office investigation a “political gimmick” and said Ms Gray was cooperating fully with the “normal process” for scrutinising new jobs for ex-civil servants run by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.
Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said the Government will “consider next steps”.
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He said the Government has submitted a “confidential assessment” to the anti-corruption watchdog Acoba, which will recommend a cooling-off period between three months and two years to avoid any conflict of interest.
But he stopped short of saying whether the Cabinet Office deemed her to have broken any rules by talking to the Opposition about a potential position while she was working in Government.
Dave Penman, leader of the FDA union which represents senior Whitehall staff, tweeted: “It is no surprise that Sue Gray has decided to focus on engaging with the independent, evidence-based Acoba investigation, rather than deal with an investigation that is mired in the politics of the day.”
Sir Keir has insisted he was “confident” Ms Gray has not broken any rules. The Labour leader said he “had no discussions with her while she was investigating Boris Johnson”.
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