BUT senior minister condemned Britain government briefings against civil servant Sue Gray for “playing politics” with her upcoming lockdown-breaking party report claiming it was Gray who looking for a meeting with Boris Johnson to discuss the process.
The Daily Mail on Monday quoted series of anonymous government “insiders” accusing Gray, senior official instructed with investigation of the Downing Street meetings, of “playing politics and enjoy the attention too much.”
Asked if he condemned such briefings, Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News: “I would.”
He continued: “I think one thing I would say about Sue Gray and I never met her, but I heard great The fact is that according to her reputation one of the most fiercely independent and professional civil servants in whole of government and brings great range of experience carry, so I don’t think there is politics”.
Gray’s report, shelved after the Metropolitan Police launched a parallel investigation into lockdown violations. in and around Downing Street, due this week and could potentially prove very harmful to prime minister.
upcoming of its release caused controversy on a face-to-face meeting Gray and Johnson, and who provoked it. Gray team denies that they asked for it.
However, Clarke said he believed that was the case and said that the meeting was only used to discuss “technical matters”. of process, for example who can be called in Report.
“There’s a lot of practical questions are need be at the bottom out in terms of, for example, who can be called in this report and the extent to which photographic evidence can be included. It is important that these practical aspects are addressed,” Clarke said.
“Question of whether there is a of they are named in this report, question of what evidence is included in it is not straightforward here and is really delicate for people life and career and public profiles.
“I don’t think that this meeting was anything other than a discussion of technical details of process. It would be sincere wrong dispute that any pressure was exerted on in nature of this report in Any way”.
Saying he had “absolute” faith in Johnson, whatever of that Gray’s report laid outClark said Johnson apologized for his own penalty for violation of the blocking rules and that 126 fines issued to others should to be seen in wider perspective.
“I think we also need remember without justifying what happened, but way of context, the extreme pressure that group of people were on course of pandemic,” he said.
“They have worked the longest imaginable hours under the biggest amount of pressure. That in No way reduces the severity of what happened, but it gives some context.”