The mystery of when Sir Keir Starmer’s team made contact with Sue Gray to discuss bringing the civil servant on as chief of staff appears to have been solved.

Sky News is reporting that Gray’s first contact with Starmer was in October 2022. The job offer became public four months later, in March. The Labour leader has repeatedly refused to disclose when the first meeting took place.

The date matters because Gray is under investigation for whether by covertly negotiating a job in the Labour camp while still a civil servant, she broke the civil service code.

The stronger charge against her was that she was in talks with Labour at the same time as she was conducting her inquiry into Partygate – a blatant conflict of interest.

The October date would blow this more serious allegation out of the water, as her report into lockdown rule-breaking was published in May 2022.

Still, a question mark hangs over whether her failure to disclose her new job opportunity went against Whitehall rules.

Labour is now waiting for a decision from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) – which has the power to delay appointments but not block them – to find out when Gray can start work.

We haven’t heard the last of Sue Gray.

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