Westminster is awash with anger and resentment after it was revealed that Keir Starmer is set to appoint Sue Gray, the senior civil servant who investigated the partygate scandal, as his chief of staff.

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Gray has left her role as head of the Union and Constitution Directorate at the Cabinet Office and is expected to join the Labour leader’s team, as first reported by Sky News.

Her appointment “will be seen as a significant achievement for the opposition leader as his party plots its course to power”, wrote Rachel Wearmouth, deputy political editor of The New Statesman.

However, Tory MPs have described the hiring of the party-prober as an “establishment stitch-up” that undermines the integrity of her inquiry and the Daily Mail has asked: “Is this proof the partygate probe was a Labour plot?”

‘Constitutional outrage’

“I think it’s f*cking outrageous, I really do,” a Tory MP told Politico’s London Playbook, saying that Gray “claims to be this bastion of standards and independence” and then “shacks up with Keir Starmer” in “an establishment stitch-up”.

Alexander Stafford, a Tory MP and ally of former PM Boris Johnson, said the hiring is “dodgy” and “doesn’t pass the sniff test”, noted The Times.

The Conservative MP WhatsApp group “has certainly been animated on the topic and sharing links of the news”, said The Spectator, with Johnson writing that “ex-PMs” are among those who “would like to say what we think of this”.

Conservative MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, are calling on PM Rishi Sunak to use his powers to block the appointment for two years, and sources have told the Daily Mail that the PM has not ruled out such a move.

Meanwhile, The Sun’s Trevor Kavanagh wrote that Gray’s “leap from Partygate grand inquisitor to Labour Party chief of staff” is a “constitutional outrage”.

‘Confected outrage’

However, LBC radio host and Telegraph columnist Iain Dale tweeted that the hostile reaction to the appointment is “confected outrage” because Gray has “total integrity”. And former Downing Street spokeswoman Ali Donnelly wrote on Twitter that a conspiracy is “only true if you presume that senior civil servants are incapable of operating neutrally …read more

Source:: The Week – All news


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