Her sudden switch from gamekeeper to poacher breaches Civil Service conventions – and lets the former PM rewrite history on his often-dismal behaviour in Downing Street.
Already, Johnson is using her appointment as Starmer’s chief of staff to cast doubt on her Partygate report.
First of all, let’s tackle Gray and her political grenade. Then we can move on to the nonsense from Johnson.
Gray’s departure does harm the Civil Service’s reputation for impartiality, in Westminster and among the wider public. Civil servants need to be trusted by ministers in order to do their job, advising the elected government of the day. Her abscondment is a breach of that trust.
Gray has been privy to private information about Tory ministers and special advisers for the past decade. Now she is supposed to magically forget it all, rather than allow her new Labour colleagues to weaponise it.
On to Johnson, who is in no position to comment on the moral fibre of others. One of his “allies” now describes Sue Gray’s Partygate report as a “giant Labour and Civil Service stitch-up … It raises questions about the entire Partygate saga and to what extent this was a calculated and co-ordinated attempt to take out a PM.”
Baloney. Her report was supported by the police investigation and extensive media reporting. It was in no way a stitch-up, unless the stitch-up involved multiple police forces, the Cabinet Office, Downing Street’s staff, the entire British media and the Conservative parliamentary party.
In truth, Johnson’s (mis)conduct saw him driven from office after his government effectively collapsed. He fears that will be his political epitaph, instead of Brexit.