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No 10 party investigation should be ‘entirely independent of UK Government’ says Mark Drakeford

14 Jan 2022 2 minutes Read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Chatham House (CC BY 2.0) Mark Drakeford picture by the Welsh Government.

The First Minister has said that the investigation into the parties in Downing St should be “entirely independent” of the UK Government.

Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, has been charged with investigating the parties during lockdown at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s residence and office complex in Whitehall.

The Met Police have said that they will not conduct an investigation into the alleged breaches of lockdown unless an inquiry by Sue Gray finds evidence of criminality.

But the process has been criticised by some who say that Sue Gray as a civil servant is essentially been asked to report on her own political bosses.

Mark Drakeford said that he knew Sue Gray and was an “admirer of her abilities”.

“But my own view has been that the report should have been given to someone entirely independent of the UK Government,” he said. “It should have been judge-led or someone in an entirely independent position.

“I think Sue Gray has been put in a very challenging and pressurised position. And it would have been better of another mechanism, more clear cut, had been put in place.”

The First Minister was also asked whether there had been any parties held at the Welsh Government’s offices in Cathays Park.

He answered that they had “hardly enough people to have a party” because they had a “strict working from home rule”.

“People who make the rules have a special obligation to make sure they are following the rules,” he said.

“We’ve seen right back to the Dominic Cummings events much earlier on, that when public figures who make the rules feel the rules don’t apply to them, it damages public confidence.

“I hope people see the Welsh Government in a different light. I hope they see we have not been part of any culture that believes that somehow you are above and beyond the rules that apply to other people.”

He added that he hoped the success of the restrictions in Wales since Boxing Day was “in part because they genuinely feel we are all in it together”.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
14 days ago

And any London based law enforcement agency…

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
13 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

As any enquiry into Dripford’s disaterous Covid policy for Wales. It should hold him and Llafur to account. Dripford cost Wales dear.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

Are you seriously comparing Wales Covid response to England’s farce?. I deal with facts rather than fiction.

Boris Johnson has overseen the deaths of over 132,000 people (source JHU CSSE data), but the true figure is far higher.

Besides the human cost, the financial one is astronomical. The Tories spent £39 billion on a failed track & trace test system. Gave PPE contracts to Tory donors , family & friends. Wasted millions on PPE that was either poor quality or unusable.

Last edited 13 days ago by Y Cymro
Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Agree, but there should be an independent Wales enquiry into covid, if Welsh Lab want to take responsibility as a national gvt should. They cannot have it both ways, and cop out.

hdavies15
hdavies15
13 days ago
Reply to  Gaynor Jones

Exactly. The major problem is that, like England, Wales’ political community is closely linked to anything that might be proposed as an independent authority for such an enquiry. Also all these enquiries need to be expedited swiftly. UK and Wales have a habit of spinning things out so that the grass is awful long by the time findings are published. Self interest and mutual back scratching runs deep in these countries.

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Agree H, how many times do we have Gvt consultations and enquiries that are just mere platitudes and do not change gvt/ council corruption, cronyism, waste of tax payers’ money, grants given to mates and con artists.?

George Bodley
George Bodley
11 days ago
Reply to  Gaynor Jones

It was little englanders in Westminster that were to slow to act at every turn regarding the pandemic wakey wakey

Quornby
Quornby
14 days ago

So if I Rob a bank the police
Must wait for Sue Gray?

Last edited 14 days ago by Quornby
hdavies15
hdavies15
13 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Bit of a gray area ?

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
14 days ago

UK Civil Servants are there to serve and support the ministers of the Crown. Not to criticize or pass judgment on them. That is a key feature of the Civil Service ethos. Calling on a senior civil servant to undertake an investigation of ministerial conduct is a farce.

Furthermore, the career progression of senior civil servants depends entirely on ministerial patronage. They are not therefore impartial arbiters.

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
14 days ago

The official reason for having a mandarin investigate is that most of the revellers were civil servants or SPADS (who are sort-of civil servants), and of the politicians present at the parties, most of them are likely to be in receipt of government salaries (as well as MP salaries) and hence subject to [some] civil service rules. It’s all academic though, because of Crown Immunity. A civil servant who commits a crime at work cannot be prosecuted, except for a tiny handful of statutory crimes that have explicit clauses excluding them from Crown Immunity (Health & Safety at Work Act,… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Hannergylch
Jack
Jack
14 days ago

Drakeford is 100% right here.

But it is a bit hypocritical for him to talk about independent enquiries when he refuses to have one into the covid response in Wales.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
13 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Don’t be silly.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
14 days ago

Sue Gray is a devious nasty piece of work that created methods for government departments like DWP to swerve Freedom Of Information requests particularly around the austerity death toll and treatment of disabled people.
Of course she is the very best person to give the odious oaf a free ride. What does anyone expect?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
14 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Is that right, ta Kerry…

hdavies15
hdavies15
14 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

When you are that far up the seniority chain within the UK bureaucracy it’s a fair bet that you’d do well within the old Soviet regime and in modern China. Part of the culture that these Oxbridge types adapt into as they develop their careers in “the service”. In many ways these are the real enemy that we in Wales will have to overcome. The politicians are more open in their dislike of us but their thought processes are very superficial in comparison with the devious creeps who manipulate them.

hdavies15
hdavies15
14 days ago

“People who make the rules have a special obligation to make sure they are following the rules,” he said. Nuff said

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
14 days ago

O/T But I think we deserve some levity at this time.

Please be upstanding for the new Disunited Kingdumb National Anthem.

British National Anthem (updated lyrics) – YouTube

ArgolFawr!
ArgolFawr!
14 days ago

An Admirable thought and a wish craved by the majority beyond England and more than enough within I bet.

Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
13 days ago
Reply to  ArgolFawr!

Oh gosh.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

The amount of times Boris Johnson and Ministers have been cleared of corruption by a committee of their choosing even though if in a court of law with overwhelming evidence would have been convicted is a beyond a joke.

There should be no in-house investigation because those involved can be influenced, manipulated or coerced. For example. You wouldn’t have a judge overseer a family member, say his son or daughter’s trial, therefore any investigation should & must be independent of government and Westminster.

George Bodley
George Bodley
11 days ago

Quite right any investigation should be fully independent otherwise it’s a case of coals to Newcastle

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