Sue Gray broke Civil Service code by discussing Labour job offer, probe finds

Starmer accuses government of resurrecting 'a story about Sue Gray'

Sue Gray broke the Civil Service code by discussing a job with Labour, a Cabinet Office probe has concluded.

Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin said “the Civil Service Code was prima facie broken as a result of the undeclared contact between Ms Gray and the Leader of the Opposition”.

In a written answer, he added: “The rules and guidance that govern the conduct of civil servants are clear and transparent.

“It is deeply unfortunate that events have transpired in this way.

“However, regardless of the details of this specific situation, I remain confident in the impartiality of our Civil Service and would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that it is the responsibility of everyone in this House to preserve and support this impartiality.”

In March it was revealed that Ms Gray had been in secret talks with Labour about taking up the role as Sir Keir’s chief of staff since October 2022, when she was still a civil servant. 

This was months after her Partygate report was published. 

Last Friday, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (AcoBa) approved her appointment but said there has to be a six-month break between the end of her role in the civil service and her new job with Keir Starmer.

The “cooling off period”, imposed to ensure there is no “potential risk to the perceived impartiality of the Civil Service”, means she can begin as chief of staff in September. 

Ms Gray refused to cooperate with the Cabinet Office inquiry, a decision which Mr Sunak described as “disappointing”. 

The former civil servant’s report into the Partygate scandal saw her investigate 15 events on 12 dates between May 2020 and April 2021, all of which involved people gathering during Covid lockdowns.


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