Daily Mail

Tory fury over Gray son’s cosy photos with Keir

- Chief Political Correspond­ent By David Churchill

SUE Gray was last night facing fresh questions about alleged bias as pictures of her son standing alongside Sir Keir Starmer emerged – including one taken during her Partygate probe.

The pictures reignited the ‘impartiali­ty’ row engulfing the former top civil servant after she quit her Whitehall role last week to become Sir Keir’s chief of staff.

Allies of former prime minister Boris Johnson claim the move shows that her Partygate report, which contribute­d to his downfall, was a Labour ‘stitch-up’.

Snaps unearthed by the Daily Mail show Ms Gray’s Labour activist son, Liam Conlon, standing next to Sir Keir in February 2020. Mr Conlon, chairman of Labour’s Irish Society, posted on social media alongside the image that the group held a ‘brilliant’ evening event with Sir Keir as they nominated him to replace Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.

The pair were pictured alongside each other again at another Labour Party Irish Society event on March 14 – during his mother’s Partygate probe – where Sir Keir was booked as a speaker.

Ms Gray was appointed to lead the investigat­ion into gatherings in Downing Street during lockdown in December 2021, with her report published in May last year.

It is being used as a key plank of the Commons privileges committee’s investigat­ion into whether Mr Johnson misled Parliament over what he knew about lockdown rules being broken.

Allies of Mr Johnson say it is ‘absurd’ to rely on Ms Gray’s report because her new job shows she was biased. It comes after reports that Mr Conlon was heard boasting about his mother’s role in Partygate as he campaigned for Labour candidate Danny Beales in Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge seat in west London. Former business secretary Jacob Rees- Mogg said: ‘ It becomes increasing­ly difficult to believe that Sue Gray has magically metamorpho­sed into a politician hav ing previously been impartial. It looks as if the civil service has been harbouring a socialist sleeper cell and it invalidate­s her previous work.’

Former home secretary Priti Patel said: ‘The level of collusion between the Gray family and the Labour Party and the depth of their relationsh­ip is scandalous. It questions the fundamenta­l principles of impartiali­ty, profession­al standards and transparen­cy within the civil service.’

Tory MP Simon Clarke said: ‘After a week when you would have thought things couldn’t get worse, it is now becoming clear just how closely Sue Gray’s family are involved not just in Labour Party politics, but specifical­ly in the campaign to destroy Boris Johnson.

‘Sue Gray must have known about her son’s close links to Sir Keir Starmer when she was asked to undertake such a high-profile investigat­ion into a Conservati­ve PM. These revelation­s further strengthen the need for a proper inquiry into what has happened before the privileges committee continues what feels ever more like a witch- hunt against an elected Prime Minister.’

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries said: aid: ‘ These revel revelation­s show that Sue Gray is part of a Labour network that has been plotting against Boris Johnson.’

But Labour hit back last night, with a senior party source saying: ‘ To suggest Sue Gray’s long, esteemed career... is in some way undermined by her son having a political opinion, is wild.’

Ms Gray is expected to formally request permission to become Sir Keir’s chief of staff today. She will submit her applicatio­n to the advisory committee on business appointmen­ts, where she will have to set out the timeline of her discussion­s with Labour.

Under civil service rules, she should have declared when Labour first approached her to take the job. But she has been facing questions about whether she breached this requiremen­t after officials first learnt of her resignatio­n on Thursday.

Labour has refused to say when it first contacted her.

‘A socialist sleeper cell’

 ?? ?? Questions: Liam Conlon with, from left, his mother Sue Gray, the late Labour MP Tessa Jowell and Baroness Lawrence
Questions: Liam Conlon with, from left, his mother Sue Gray, the late Labour MP Tessa Jowell and Baroness Lawrence
 ?? ?? Love of Labour: Liam Conlon, circled, with Sir Keir Starmer
Love of Labour: Liam Conlon, circled, with Sir Keir Starmer

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