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Boris Johnson’s allies say Sue Gray is ‘playing politics’ over partygate

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Tories close to Boris Johnson have accused Sue Gray of “playing politics” over partygate, according to reports.

The Daily Mail reported that the Prime Minister’s friends reacted angrily to allegations that Johnson had tried to “nobble” Gray’s inquiry into the partygate scandal and raised concerns of “toxic” media briefings from the senior civil servant.

The paper also claimed that the Prime Minister’s allies were alarmed by suggestions that Gray was “surprised” that Johnson had only received one fine from the police.

This comes amid claims from senior Tories that a secretive meeting between the pair was requested by Gray rather than Johnson and that the contents of the report were not discussed

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The Daily Mail quoted a source as saying: “Sue Gray is supposed to be neutral but she’s been busy playing politics and enjoying the limelight a little too much.”

It then came to light that the senior press officer charged with handling the publication of Gray’s report was relieved of his duties without explanation.

However, on Monday morning, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke was critical of the reports.

Clarke told Sky News: “I would (condemn it).

“I think the one thing I would say about Sue Gray, and I have never met her but I have heard a great deal about her, is that by repute she is one of the most fiercely independent and professional civil servants in the whole of Government and brings a vast range of experience to bear, so I don’t think there is any politics.”

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He added: “In no way do I think there is anything other than a practical dimension to the question of when it comes out, now that the police have concluded their investigation.”

Asked who instigated the meeting between the Prime Minister and Gray, the Treasury minister said: “It is my understanding that the meeting was instigated by Ms Gray.”

He continued: “There are lots of practical questions here that need to be bottomed out in terms of, for example, who can be named in this report and the extent to which photographic evidence can be included. It is important that those practical dimensions are resolved.”

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