Sue Gray – an unaccountable Conservative “fixer” – experienced in “thwarting investigations”
By TruePublica: Who doesn’t love a good tale of irony? Well here’s one and it starts like this. The vast majority of the British public had never heard of Sue Gray until Boris Johnson appointed her as the ‘partygate‘ investigator. She stepped into the role when her predecessor, the UK’s top civil servant Simon Case, resigned from leading the inquiry only last month after allegations emerged that he had held a party in his own office in breach of coronavirus restrictions. Gray will now be heading up the inquiry, investigating whether the 20 May gathering contravened legal restrictions, as well as a number of other incidents. So many in fact, it is not appropriate to list them here for fear of outdating this short article within a day or so.
Sue Gray is now one of the most powerful civil servants in the country. And within senior Tory circles is openly known to be just about its most secretive.
And there is a very good reason why Tory MP’s are being wheeled out to parrot the same old “wait for the report of Sue Gray’s investigation.”
Sue Gray: It’s not for me to make findings indicating criminality or breach of Covid rules. That’s for police to investigate.
Police: We don’t intend to investigate unless Sue Gray makes findings indicating criminality or breach of Covid rules.
She is described by senior Tory politicians as “user-friendly” – and is known for giving advice “that ministers like to hear”.
Some other things we know about Sue Gray’s modus operandi is that according to one report she is notorious for her determination not to leave a document trail. She likes to destroy evidence like emails and gives advice to ministers and advisors on how to thwart Freedom of Information requesters.
In one case involving another political scandal and Andrew Lansley’s ‘plebgate’ – a judge ruled that evidence submitted and argument fell – “way below the standards that the public and the court are entitled to expect of government departments and senior civil servants in advancing public interest arguments“.
In another incident, that the BBC reported on – in September 2011, Ms Gray advised Michael Gove, then education secretary, that emails sent in private email accounts on government business was exempt from transparency laws. If data is not stored on servers accessible to officials, she wrote, it “seems obvious that they cannot ‘hold’ it for the purpose of the Act”, she wrote.
In the meantime, Steven Swinford – Political Editor of The Times says “Johnson’s allies are increasingly confident that he can survive the report, which is due to be published at the end of next week.”
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Read the BBC report about Sue Gray HERE