The Daily Mail has dubbed the Partygate probe a “Labour plot” after Sue Gray was appointed as Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff.
The right-wing rag quoted top Tory MPs in its front-page splash, suggesting the move is proof that the inquiry was a Labour “stitch-up”.
Gray took on the civil service investigation into allegations of coronavirus rule-breaking at No 10 in December 2021, going from an influential but little-known arbiter of conduct in Government to a household name seen as holding Johnson’s fate in her hands.
Her report contributed to the prime minister’s downfall, although separate Met Police inquiries and scandals concerning the MPs Owen Paterson and Chris Pincher undoubtedly added fuel to the fire.
Following the announcement Gray was to join the Labour ranks, Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted:
“So much for an impartial Civil Service, the Gray report now looks like a left-wing stitch-up against a Tory Prime Minister.”
The tweet has been heavily criticised, with Jacqui Smith calling it a “disgusting smear of a civil servant who professionally and creditably served governments of all colours over many years”.
Guy Clapperton said he hopes Gray sues him for the “libel that Tweet clearly is”, while James Woodfield pointed out that by him suggesting Gray breached the Civil Service Codethe, the Tory MP could indeed be accused of being defamatory.
Unsurprisingly, GB News also got in on the action, prompting this response from Otto English:
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