Kay Burley Skewers Minister Over Claims Sue Gray Report Is ‘Independent’

Kay Burley repeatedly pointed out just why Sue Gray’s report into partygate should not be described as independent during an uncomfortable interview with a minister.

The internal probe, led by senior civil servant Gray, is set to be published this week now the Metropolitan Police’s investigation concluded after handing out 126 fines.

However, eyebrows have been raised after prime minister Boris Johnson had a “secret” meeting with Gray over the report’s publication.

Sky News presenter Burley subsequently pointed out to Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury: “The optics are not good, are they, when the prime minister, has a private meeting with the person who is writing the report.”

Clarke replied: ″The civil service is independent, I think it’s important that we reaffirm that this process is totally independent of any political pressure.”

Burley pushed: “Who’s her boss?”

“Her boss is Simon Case, the cabinet secretary.”

She said: “And who’s his boss?”

“Well, ultimately the prime minister is in charge of the government,” but he added: “The civil service stands apart from the political structures of government.”

He continued, claiming Gray is one of the “most respected” figures in the civil service.

Clarke said: “I do not believe in any way that we should conflate the fact that the prime minister obviously sits atop the whole government, from the fact that the civil service is capable from standing apart from the political issues of the day.”

“The optics are somewhat askew,” Burley pointed out once again.

“I really, really don’t think so. There are lots of genuine practical issues, when publishing a report of this nature which has significance not just for the prime minister himself, but for many people who do not have a voice and platform, very junior civil servants, very junior political staffers – the question of whether any of them are named in the report, the questions included within in it.

“The questions are not straightforward here and are genuinely sensitive for people’s lives, careers and public profiles.”

Burley said: ″But he shouldn’t be getting involved in that, should he, if it’s an independent report?”

“I do not believe this meeting was anything other than a discussion of the technicalities of the process. It would be genuinely wrong to impugn there has been any pressure put on the nature of this report, in any way.”

It’s also worth noting that Johnson did actually order the inquiry himself when the partygate revelations started to come to light.

He also set the terms of reference for her report, and Gray handed the review to the prime minister first before it was sent to the police to help them conduct their own criminal investigation into the Downing Street lockdown parties.



Source link

Latest

Beyonce Unveils Cover Art For New Album Renaissance And All We Can Say Is… Wow

Just a week after surprising all of us with...

End of a Pandemic Tracker Signifies a New Phase in Travel

Times Insider explains who we are and what we...

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger: When You Try A Coup In The U.S., You Have To Pay For That

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) appeared on “The Late Show...

Beyonce Unveils Cover Art For New Album Renaissance And All We Can Say Is… Wow

Just a week after surprising all of us with her (amazing) comeback single, Break My Soul, Beyonce has unveiled the cover art to her...

New Zealand declares US far-right Proud Boys and the Base terrorist groups

New Zealand’s government has declared that the American far-right groups the Proud Boys and the Base are terrorist organisations. The two groups join 18...

Saudi Arabia promises to fix Hajj booking system as British pilgrims are left without flights and visas

Saudi Arabia has promised to secure alternative flights for pilgrims travelling to...