Sue Gray 'broke rules over Labour contact prior to resignation'

The partygate investigator is due to take up a role as Sir Keir Starmer's chief of staff in September.

Sue Gray broke civil service rules over Labour contact prior to resignation, Cabinet Office say Institute for Government

Partygate investigator Sue Gray broke civil service rules “as a result of the undeclared contact” between her and the Labour Party, according to a Whitehall investigation.

The former senior civil servant is due to take up the role as opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff after being cleared to start the job in September by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), the anti-corruption watchdog.

But in a separate Cabinet Office inquiry, it was found that Gray, who refused to give evidence to the Government probe, broke the civil service code due to her contact with Labour ahead of her resignation in March.

The result was briefed ahead of Monday’s announcement, which came in the form of a written ministerial statement.

Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin said: “I can now confirm that the Cabinet Office process looking into the circumstances leading up to Ms Gray’s resignation has been concluded.

“As part of the process, Ms Gray was given the opportunity to make representations but chose not to do so.

“This process, led by the Civil Service, found that the Civil Service code was prima facie broken as a result of the undeclared contact between Ms Gray and the Leader of the Opposition.

“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.”

Acoba on Friday recommended that Gray have a six-month cooling-off period, starting from the day she quit the civil service, before taking up her new role with the Opposition, allowing her to start in two months’ time.

The watchdog ruled it had seen “no evidence” that her decision making or impartiality was “impaired” while serving in Whitehall.

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