Politics

The ‘straight-shooting’ investigator behind partygate report



Sue Gray, the lady charged with investigating partygate, is predicted to ship her long-awaited report this week. 

The civil servant has been freed to publish the findings of her investigation into the Downing Street events after the Met Police accomplished its investigation into breaches of Covid restrictions.

But who’s the lady holding the doubtless damaging report, and why was she chosen? Here, we clarify all. 

Last orders for Boris?

In the Nineteen Eighties, Ms Gray briefly paused her Civil Service profession to purchase a pub in Newry near the Irish border throughout The Troubles

If Boris Johnson wanted proof that his inquisitor-in-chief isn’t any pushover, then being landlady of a pub in Northern Ireland’s “bandit country” exhibits she isn’t any gentle contact.

Ms Gray had the duty of investigating a collection of alleged lockdown events held in Downing Street and throughout authorities in the course of the Covid pandemic. The report has now been accomplished, with the preliminary findings that there have been “failings of leadership and judgment”.

The report, which was printed on gov.uk, consists of 12 pages and divulges that 12 gatherings had been topic to Metropolitan Police investigation.

The Prime Minister had been questioned by Ms Gray over the partygate allegations he and different MPs confronted and The Telegraph understands that he shared all he knew with the civil servant.

Dominic Cummings was additionally interviewed by Ms Gray as a part of her investigation. Mr Johnson’s former high aide, who has been essential of the Prime Minister since leaving No10, has beforehand claimed on his weblog that he and different witnesses had been ready to swear underneath oath that Mr Johnson had “lied to Parliament about parties”.

However, Mr Cummings refused to fulfill Ms Gray in individual as he feared Mr Johnson would “spin it to the media” and as a substitute emailed his responses.

Ominously for the Prime Minister, an MP as soon as described her as “deputy god”, whereas Sir Oliver Letwin admitted when in Cabinet that it had taken him “precisely two years before I realised who it is that runs Britain”, adding: “Our great United Kingdom is actually entirely run by a lady called Sue Gray. Nothing moves in Whitehall unless Sue says so.”

‘A straight shooter’

Friends referred to as her a “straight shooter” who would depart no stone unturned in attending to the reality in regards to the numerous events – Downing Street calls them “gatherings” – however would additionally examine the “culture” inside Number 10 that allowed them to happen within the first place. 

They level out the irony that had she been within the Cabinet Office on the time of the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, Ms Gray would have put a cease to any events as soon as she had wind of them. 

Ms Gray doesn’t endure fools. For six years, she was director-general, propriety and ethics, within the Cabinet Office. 

She ran inquiries into ‘plebgate‘ – through which Andrew Mitchell, the previous chief whip, was accused of insulting a police officer – and into allegations that Damian Green had used his parliamentary pc to entry pornography. Mr Green, then deputy prime minister, was compelled to resign.

Now aged 63, Ms Gray has held senior civil service posts underneath quite a lot of prime ministers, each Labour and Conservative, and has pulled off the trick of retaining politicians at nighttime about her personal political leanings. 

Public servant in a public home

Ms Gray and her husband, Bill Conlon, an acclaimed nation and western singer, purchased a pub, with household connections, referred to as The Cove within the late Nineteen Eighties. They ran it for quite a lot of years earlier than she returned to the Civil Service, working throughout Whitehall in transport, well being and work and pensions, earlier than becoming a member of the Cabinet Office within the late Nineteen Nineties.

She served in Northern Ireland as everlasting secretary in Stormont’s division of finance, however was handed over for the highest job of head of the Northern Ireland civil service in 2020. 

In a uncommon interview, she advised the BBC that she had “really wanted the job” however felt she had been handed over as a result of “people may have thought that I perhaps was too much of a challenger, or a disruptor”.

She returned to the Cabinet Office in May 2021 to take up the put up of second everlasting secretary with the accountability for the Union and Constitution.

Now she is again and her report findings have been printed, Boris Johnson will face the judgment of MPs. Once the Metropolitan Police has concluded its personal investigation.

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