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The former Prime Minister offered a professional defence of the unwise assurances he gave to the Commons in December 2021.
“The appointment is just another brick in the wall for viewers to say you don’t work for us you work for yourself,” warns the former Conservative Party Chairman.
One need not think Conservatives are right to mistrust the Civil Service to recognise that a move which fuels such feelings is dangerous.
With the news that Sue Gray has resigned from the civil service and has been offered the job of Keir Starmer’s chief of staff, we present Andrew Gimson’s profile of her from 2017.
The Scottish Secretary, understated in his public utterances, “often makes the wittiest interjections in Cabinet discussions”.
Is he fated to be a fire-fighter, a leader grappling with crisis? Or can he find the political space to deliver a more personal message – perhaps to do with education?
The Northern Ireland Secretary adds that he wouldn’t “question her independence and determination to deliver a full and complete report.”
Above all, to what extent will he present a clear plan and message? My starter for ten is “help hard-working people and go for more growth”.
He tells the assembled press conference that he seeks to “not in anyway to extenuate my personal responsibility” but “to give context to these events”.
Tory MPs felt no great urge to leap to the PM’s defence, but also showed no desire to defenestrate him, and instead drifted off to lunch.
“I had no knowledge of those subsequent proceedings because I simply wasn’t there,” he says, apologising to cleaning and security staff.
With Sue Gray’s report due and a Privileges Committee report coming, the Prime Minister may not be able to break free until the autumn.
Hypocrisy tops the list of dangers for a politician – and Labour’s leader is dangerously exposed.
To waste time now on internal factionalisation would be indefensible to so many party members who worked so hard to secure our majority.