Sue Gray: Who is officially in charge of investigating 10 party claims? | Boris Johnson


Boris Johnson could one day regret the appointment of Sue Gray as the leader of a potentially explosive investigation into suspected Downing Street parties during the lockdown.

The senior official has a reputation for vigorous internal investigations – those that her more career-oriented peers refuse to touch. Their conclusions have occasionally prompted the firing of ministers and mandarins.

The inquiry, which was launched last month by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, was primarily asked to investigate allegations that the No. 10 staff held a party on 18 December 2020, as London was subject to strict restrictions.

It will now also include “bring your own splash” event May 20 of that year and a gathering of wine and cheese in the same Downing Street garden five days earlier, pictured by the Guardian.

Grays’ appointment came amid a frantic atmosphere in Downing Street, insiders claim. The case was adjourned in mid-December after allegations surfaced of a drinks event taking place in his own office.

That same day, Gray agreed to replace him. She is believed to have studied Case’s work on the study and decided to conduct her own interviews. She has contacted several former employees for evidence.

'He can run, but he can not hide': Angela Rayner blows Boris Johnson over lockdown parties - video
‘He can run, but he can not hide’: Angela Rayner blows Boris Johnson over lockdown parties – video

Insiders point out that Johnson still needs to sign the investigation before it is released to the public and can request “clarifications.” This could delay publication – it took six months to publish the condemnation report allegations of bullying mod Priti Patel.

An admirer of Gray’s work said she would not stand for delays or attempts to influence her investigation. “The biggest mistake they have made if they want to cover up anything is to appoint Sue Gray because she will investigate the allegations and lay the blame on those responsible,” the informed source said.

Gray began a career as a civil servant in the 1970s, according to reports. After marrying a country and western singer from Northern Ireland, Bill Conlon, she took a career break in the 1980s to run the Cove Bar outside Newry, County Down, close to the border with Ireland. “I loved it, loved it at the time, I would never do it again,” she told the BBC in May.

She was lured back to London to work in the Cabinet Office under Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. She was a “fixer,” according to a former Blair adviser, a person who worked in the shadows to investigate potential peers and level the playing field.

Brown wrote in his memoirs: “Like Tony before me and two prime ministers ago, I was able to draw on the support of Sue Gray, a senior cabinet official who was always there with wise advice when – as happened all too often – mini-crises and crises arose. “

She got a higher profile in Whitehall under David Cameron. According to then-Chancellor George Osborne, she impressed the new government on its first day in office in 2010.

“Thirty minutes after the Labor team was gone, everyone was staring at David Cameron,” the former chancellor wrote in a tweet. “Then someone said, ‘I’m sorry PM, but you can not do that.’ ‘Who is it?’ I asked. Sue Gray. “

Gray was named Director-General of the Decency and Ethics Team in 2012. Under Theresa May, she ran a study of then-Prime Minister Damian Green’s close ally. He became one afterwards fired after admitting he had lied about the presence of pornographic images on his House of Commons computer.

She also supervised Plebgate query into allegations that the then chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, had sworn in and insulted police officers on Downing Street. He resigned from the office because of the affair.

Gray returned to Northern Ireland to work as a senior official in 2018, but was recruited back to Whitehall in the spring to work with Michael Gove to maintain the union.

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