Tory MPs demand PM intervenes over Sue Gray’s appointment with Labour

Boris Johnson holds press conference for the Sue Gray report

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Urgent questions are to be laid by a number of Conservative MPs this morning demanding that the Prime Minister makes a statement over prospect of senior civil servant Sue Gray joining the Labour Party as Starmer’s chief of staff. The move comes as Tory MPs have demanded that a “show trial” of Boris Johnson by the Privileges Committee is abandoned because of Ms Gray’s involvement.

With fury growing over the move among Tory MPs, the appointment by Starmer has left huge question marks over civil service neutrality and could create a new constitutional crisis.

Conservative MP’s anger rose over the weekend when Labour shadow cabinet member Jon Ashworth admitted that Gray “was always going to be on the list” for the top job.

This follows clips of Starmer on LBC a year ago describing Gray as “a close friend”.

It has led to claims of possible “collusion” between Starmer and Gray over the Partygate inquiry she oversaw with Jacob Rees-Mogg demanding an inquiry into her investigation.

Added to that Gray’s son heads the Ireland branch of the Labour Party and she has been known to attend his events.

One of the MPs hoping that Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will grant him an urgent question is Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, a Boris Johnson loyalist.

Mr Longhi told Express.co.uk: “The Civil Service Code is very clear that civil servants should maintain the strictest impartiality. The appointment raises serious questions about whether the Code has been followed and about whether Ministers can rely on the advice that is given to them.

“This is a question of trust. A senior shadow minister declared over the weekend that Sue Gray ‘was always going to be on (Keir Starmer’s) list’.”

Ms Gray is now the main witness by the Privileges Committee into whether Mr Johnson lied to Parliament, but Mr Longhi among other MPs has said this cannot now continue.

He said: “I cannot see how the Privileges Committee could possibly now rely on the central evidence it is set to consider, if it did the process would have no integrity and it would be nothing more than a kangaroo court.

“I am calling for it to be scrapped altogether and for a separate transparent investigation to be carried out into the interactions between Sue Gray and the Labour Party while she was in post.

“The appointment breaks with conventions and has serious constitutional implications.”

It is understood that Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Basssetlaw and chairman of the Blue Collar Conservatism Movement, is another Tory MP to be putting down an urgent question.

He said over the weekend that it is “against natural justice” for the main witness into Mr Johnson to be working for an opposing political party.

The Speaker decides whether a question can be granted.

While MPs have asked for Rishi Sunak to answer, it is more likely to be Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden, who runs the Cabinet Office if the question is granted.

A petition has already been launched by the Conservative Post calling on the inquiry into Mr Johnson to be dropped and backed by his ally Lord Cruddas.

However, sources have told Express.co.uk that while Ms Gray may have been in talks with Starmer since Christmas her decision was motivated by her failure to land the Permanent Secretary job in Kemi Badencoh’s business and trade department after she was blocked by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

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