PMQs: Keir Starmer asks Boris Johnson if he will resign
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Described as being “the most powerful person you’ve never heard of”, Sue Gray has been tasked with examining evidence of multiple gatherings in Downing Street that allegedly broke coronavirus legislation set by Boris Johnson’s own Government. Ms Gray’s report is expected this week – even as a police investigation has been launched by the Met. But who is Sue Gray, and how much is she paid?
The dramatic announcement by Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick that her force will investigate an unspecified number of parties in Number 10 during lockdown has significantly heightened the pressure on Mr Johnson.
Retrospective investigations of lockdown infringement were conducted only for “the most serious and flagrant type of breach”, she said.
He currently risks becoming the first serving Prime Minister to be interviewed as a suspect by officers.
But for now, his fate rests in the hands of one of the most powerful civil servants in Britain – and the results could be hours or days away.
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Who is Sue Gray?
Ms Gray currently holds the position of second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
A long-standing civil servant, Ms Gray previously worked in the Cabinet Office from 1998 and served as the Director-General, Propriety & Ethics from 2012 to 2018, making her well suited to investigate the Prime Minister.
Ms Gray is well accustomed to ousting cabinet ministers from their jobs, and the Prime Minister could be next on the chopping block.
In 2017, Ms Gray investigated the senior government minister Damian Green, an inquiry which triggered his resignation after she found he had broken the ministerial code.
How much is Sue Gray paid?
How much Sue Gray is paid in her current role is unclear.
However, her previous role as the Department of Finance Permanent Secretary in Northern Ireland was advertised with a salary of between £160,563 and £188,272 when she left the post in 2021.
It is likely she is paid a similar amount to this – but no accurate figure is available.
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When will the report be published?
The report is expected imminently after it was confirmed that the Met Police investigation would not delay the publication.
While some details have been redacted by Ms Gray’s team, such as personal information, it is understood the Met did not demand that any significant parts of the report not be published.
Mr Johnson has the power to decide whether to publish the report in full or to release only a brief summary of findings, but there is a significant danger of even more severe backlash if he appears to be trying to hide the results.
What will happen when the report is published?
Mr Johnson has said he will address parliament when the findings are made public.
If the findings of the report are damning, Mr Johnson could be forced to hand in his resignation – but the Prime Minister is fervently avoiding pressure to resign from the public and parliament.
His own MPs in the Tory party could force a vote of no confidence if enough decide to write to the influential 1922 Committee of backbenchers – with the magic number being 54.
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