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Former NI senior civil senior servant Sue Gray to lead investigation into Downing Street parties


Sue Gray.

Sue Gray.

Sue Gray.

One of Northern Ireland’s former top civil servants will complete the investigation into lockdown-breaking parties across Whitehall after taking over from the Cabinet Secretary.

Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, is taking over from Simon Case following allegations of gatherings in his own department.

Mrs Gray was the Department of Finance’s Permanent Secretary but left Northern Ireland in April to become the Cabinet Office's Second Permanent Secretary, leading on the Union and the Constitution.

She had applied to become Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, but missed out on the role, with nobody appointed.

Mrs Gray previously worked in the Cabinet Office from 1998 and served as the Director General, Propriety & Ethics from 2012-2018.

During this time she gained a reputation as one of the most influential civil servants in all of the UK.

She joined the Department of Finance in May 2018 after the collapse of the Assembly in January of the previous year.

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Mr Case had been tasked by the Prime Minister to investigate parties reported to have been held in Downing Street and the Department for Education in November and December 2020.

And it was confirmed the scope could be widened to other alleged parties if Mr Case thought it necessary.

But following reports there were two parties held in the Cabinet Office in December 2020, a No 10 spokesperson said: "To ensure the ongoing investigation retains public confidence the Cabinet Secretary has recused himself for the remainder of the process.

"The work will be concluded by Sue Gray, second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

"She will ascertain the facts and present her findings to the Prime Minister."

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