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