Politics

Keir Starmer desperately tries to deflect Sue Gray row again

Sir Keir Starmer desperately tried to deflect the row over the appointment of Sue Gray, accusing the Government of “resurrecting” the story to avoid talking about the cost of living crisis. The Labour leader suggested the Government was only raising the issue as an attempt to divert attention ahead of the cost of living crisis. While he claimed no rules were broken in Ms Gray’s appointment, Sir Keir said “people across the country” are “not talking about Sue Gray, they’re talking about how to pay the bills”.

This comes ahead of the publication of a report from the Government today, which will help ethics watchdog ACOBA suggest how much gardening leave Ms Gray should take before joining Sir Keir’s team.

When asked by BBC Breakfast whether any rules were broken in the appointment of Ms Gray, Sir Keir said: “Firstly I had no discussions with her while she was investigating Boris Johnson, whatsoever.

“I don’t think anybody is suggesting that is the case. I’m confident that she hasn’t broken any of the rules.

“Whenever a senior civil servant leaves the civil service there is always a process they have to go through before they take up another job.

“That’s the process she is going through, quite rightly too. The process I would expect her to go through.”

He tried to downplay the weight of the report, saying: “Actually today there is nothing much new about this and I’m afraid with 48 hours to the election, whats going on is the government is trying to resurrect a story about Sue Gray, mainly because they don’t want to talk about the cost of living crisis, which most people want to talk about.”

The presenter queried: “So you think this is a timing issue?”

Sir Keir responded: “You have to smile when the Government raises an issue like this with 48 hours to go before the polls.”

But the presenter interrupted, saying: “Because they know it could potentially damage you!”

The Labour leader then diverted attention onto the Conservative Party directly, saying: “What I’d say to the Government is, if you’re listening to people across the country, they’re not talking about Sue Gray, they’re talking about how to pay the bills.

“For heaven’s sake, they’re not sitting at their breakfast table talking about Sue Gray, they’re talking about their bills.

“And if the Government focussed on the right choices then they wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in.”

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