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General news

Sue Gray’s son selected as Labour candidate to become MP at next election

The son of partygate investigator Sue Gray has been selected as a Labour candidate to become an MP at the next general election.

Liam Conlon will contest Beckenham and Penge in south-east London after being selected as the party’s candidate for the constituency.

The election is widely expected to take place in 2024.

Mr Conlon tweeted: “Thank you everyone who supported me and engaged in this process.

“The past weeks have shown the incredible potential of our new local party.

“Look forward to campaigning to win Beckenham and Penge together.”

He praised his rivals for their “engaging campaigns” and said he was “proud to call them friends”.

The long-time Labour activist announced his decision to run for selection in the newly created seat last month.

According to Jill Rutter, an associate fellow at think tank British Future, Mr Conlon has been active in the party for “longer” than his mother.

Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Ms Gray, who investigated parties held in Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdowns, quit her position this year as a senior civil servant to take on the job of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff.

Her report about lockdown breaches in government played a key role in the downfall of Boris Johnson’s premiership.

Since Ms Gray’s job change in September, she has been credited with taking a leading role in attempting to unite the party after splits emerged following Sir Keir’s decision not to demand a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

She is regularly seen around the parliamentary estate in Westminster, having been tasked with preparing the party — which is consistently well ahead of the Conservatives in the polls — for potentially entering 10 Downing Street after the next election.

The partygate investigation saw Ms Gray go within months from an influential but little-known arbiter of conduct in government to a household name.

Her decision to leave the civil service to work for the Opposition irked Mr Johnson and some Conservative MPs, who claimed a conflict of interests after her involvement in the investigation.

Anti-sleaze watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments recommended a six-month delay between her leaving the civil service and starting the job with Sir Keir — advice Labour accepted.

Her son now has the potential to be an MP in the House of Commons serving under Sir Keir after the general election.

Mr Conlon lists himself on his website as vice chairman of Lewisham West and Penge Constituency Labour Party (CLP), national chairman of the Labour Party Irish Society and a disabilities officer at the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

He has previously shared pictures of himself on social media campaigning in the run-up to Labour’s by-election wins in Mid Bedfordshire and Selby and Ainsty.

The Tories initially selected Bob Stewart, MP for Beckenham, as the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Beckenham and Penge.

But Col Stewart relinquished the party whip this month after being convicted of racist abuse and later announced he would be standing down at the next election.

The Beckenham and Penge seat was created after a review by the Boundary Commission for England to make Westminster seats more uniform in population size.