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Rishi Sunak ‘disappointed’ Sue Gray did not comply with investigation into new job with Labour | Politics News

Rishi Sunak thinks it is “obviously disappointing” that Sue Gray did not speak to the government investigation into her taking a job with Labour, Number 10 has said.

The prime minister’s press secretary relayed his reaction following an update to the Cabinet Office inquiry into the “circumstances leading to the resignation of Sue Gray” to take up the role of chief of staff to Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Gray was a career civil servant, working in key roles – including leading the inquiry into the partygate scandal in Downing Street.

Earlier this year, Sky News revealed she was leaving her job to join the leader of the opposition’s office – a move which caused uproar on Conservative benches.

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‘Serious questions to answer’ over Sue Gray

The watchdog that overseas former ministers and civil servants taking new jobs, ACOBA (Advisory Committee on Business Appointments), has started an investigation into the sequence of events, and will likely suggest Ms Gray take some time off before starting her political role.

There are concerns about the work she was involved with when she was being tapped up to move to Labour.

It was thought that the Cabinet Office would release what it had found out about the process and make a suggestion for how long they reckoned Ms Gray should be on gardening leave.

Instead, it revealed that Ms Gray had not taken part in the Cabinet Office inquiry and that due to employee confidentiality could not provide any further details “at this stage”.

Mr Sunak’s press secretary said on Wednesday: “The prime minister is not obviously involved in this process, but it is obviously disappointing that Sue Gray was offered to co-operate and has chosen not to do so.

“I think what is more disappointing is that Keir Starmer is in a position where he could clear up very quickly when contact was made by his office, or by him, to Sue Gray, to uphold the integrity of the Civil Service and ensure that it is transparent and open.”

ACOBA will make a suggestion for how long they think Ms Gray should take off before starting to work for Sir Keir, which Mr Sunak will then adjudicate – but neither he or ACOBA have the power to block an appointment.

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Meanwhile, Sir Keir’s spokesman said the party was supporting the ACOBA process.

He said: “The Labour Party is fully supporting the ACOBA process and the ACOBA process is that Sue Gray submits her form with the information as requested of her by ACOBA in the usual way.”

The spokesman added he was “not surprised” the government was trying to politicise the appointment – saying the Cabinet Office investigation “is not part of the standard process”.

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