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    Sue Gray says investigation into No 10's behavior during lockdown was 'heartbreaking'

    Sue Gray, now Sir Keir Starmer's chief of staff, investigated the party scandal. Photo: STEPHAN RUSSO/PA

    Sue Gray spoke of her “grief” following the inquiry into behavior in Whitehall during the party, in her first interview since the report was written.

    Ms Gray, now chief of staff Sir Keir Starmer, was the senior civil servant indicted. investigation into the scandal, and her report ultimately contributed to Boris Johnson's resignation as prime minister.

    Speaking of her experience investigating lockdown parties and writing the report, Ms Gray said: “On In fact, it was heartbreaking to see the behavior during partygate.

    “This wouldn't have happened in a few years. back. The whole culture just became very informal.”

    The report said there were “deficiencies in leadership and judgment” in Downing Street and that “senior management” should have been “responsible” for No 10's culture during the pandemic.

    Among other things, she wrote that she was told of “multiple examples of disrespect and mistreatment by security staff and cleaning staff”, which she called “unacceptable”.

    Ms Gray, 66, was interviewed for a biography of Sir Keir written by Tom Baldwin, who was given access to the Labor leader and several of his most senior advisers.

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    Her departure from public service and her role as a party investigator to join the Labor Party's senior team in March last year sparked anger within the Conservative Party , with government figures calling on Akoba, Whitehall's appointments watchdog, to introduce a cooling-off period of at least a year.

    But despite saying it “shared some concerns” about the potential risk to the integrity of the public service, the committee cleared Ms Gray to begin work as the Labor leader's chief of staff after just six months.

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    The book, which is being serialized by The Times ahead of publication later this month, also says Ms Gray is drawing up plans for an independent ethics commission.

    The new body will oversee government appointments. and the granting of peerages, as well as the introduction of a stricter ministerial code.

    She appears to be drawing a line under the Partygate investigation and the circumstances of her departure from Whitehall, Ms. Ms Gray: “It's very important to me to say loud and clear that I love public service.”

    She added: “Most of them are absolutely people with the right values, they live their values ​​and are in public service for those values.”

    Looking ahead to the general election and the possibility of re-entering Whitehall as part of a Labor administration, she said Whitehall would “try to form a new government”. and ministers to its way of working.

    “What I'm trying to do now in Opposition is to establish our way of working so that we can come in and take action… Despite this, there will be some departments who are with this fights.”

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