Could Sue Gray prove to be the Erling Haaland of the civil service?

Like the Manchester City striker, she has run rings around her opponents, says Sean O’Grady

Thursday 04 May 2023 10:35 BST
The former civil servant has been offered a role by Keir Starmer
The former civil servant has been offered a role by Keir Starmer (PA)

Until a few days ago, government sources were briefing friendly newspapers about a supposedly devastating Cabinet Office report on Sue Gray’s resignation after it emerged she was intending to take up a senior role with Labour. Instead, it was left to Oliver Dowden, deputy prime minister and Cabinet Office secretary, to solemnly tell MPs: “In order to maintain confidentiality towards an individual former employee, I am unable at this stage to provide further information relating to the departure of Ms Gray whilst we consider next steps.”

With beans firmly unspilled, Dowden highlighted the Civil Service Management Code requirements for senior staff, including that “contacts between senior civil servants and leading members of the opposition parties … should … be cleared with … ministers”.

So what happened to the Cabinet Office investigation?

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