Who is Sue Gray?
Sue Gray is a senior civil servant who is Second Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office and at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. She was Director General, Propriety and Ethics in the Cabinet Office from 2012 to 2018. She has worked in the civil service since the 1970s, notwithstanding a ‘career break’ in the late 1980s to run a pub in Northern Ireland. Her most recent posting before her current one was as permanent secretary in the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland, but she returned to London after failing to become head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (the equivalent of Cabinet Secretary in the separate NICS).
Gray is currently in charge of the investigation into the series of parties which allegedly took place over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic in 10 Downing Street and other government buildings. The inquiry, launched in December 2021 was initially overseen by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, until he stood down after it was reported that an alleged party took place in his office in December 2020. She has done previous investigations of Cabinet Ministers, but not of the Prime Minister.
Gray delivered an ‘update’ report on 31 January 2022, which stated that ‘some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify’ and represented ‘a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time’. It also confirms that the police are investigating 12 events for possible rule-breaking, meaning that for the time being the report is ‘extremely limited’ in what it can say about those gatherings. The government has said it will publish the full report once the Met investigation has concluded.