Partygate inquisitor Sue Gray DID break civil service rules by holding secret talks with Starmer, gov probe finds

British civil servant Sue Gray poses for a photo in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on January 19, 2022. Courtesy of GOV.UK/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE.

PARTYGATE inquisitor Sue Gray DID break Whitehall rules by holding secret talks with Sir Keir Starmer, a government probe today ruled.

Ministers this morning blasted the “undeclared contact” between the top mandarin and her future boss.

Sue Gray broke the civil service code, a probe has found

A Cabinet Office inquiry into Ms Gray’s job with Labour found she had committed a “prima facie” breach of the civil service code.

She first spoke to Sir Keir about becoming his chief of staff in October, four months before she resigned from her Whitehall role.

Ms Gray is due to start as Sir Keir’s right-hand woman in the Autumn after the appointments watchdog recommended a six-month wait.

Today Cabinet Office Minister Jeremy Quin scolded the manner of her departure – calling it “deeply unfortunate”.

Revealing the results of the probe, he said: “This process, led by the Civil Service, found that the Civil Service Code was prima facie broken as a result of the undeclared contact between Ms Gray and the Leader of the Opposition.”

He said Ms Gray declined the opportunity to engage with the investigation.

Tory MPs have let rip at Ms Gray after her damning Partygate probe effectively ended Boris Johnson’s premiership.

Mr Johnson himself has fumed that he was interrogated by a future senior Labour aide.

The civil service code forbids mandarins from political activity in order to preserve Whitehall neutrality.

Mr Quin said: “The rules and guidance that govern the conduct of civil servants are clear and transparent.

“It is deeply unfortunate that events have transpired in this way.

“However, regardless of the details of this specific situation, I remain confident in the impartiality of our Civil Service and would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that it is the responsibility of everyone in this House to preserve and support this impartiality.”