Cabinet Secretary Simon Case admitted discussing possibilities for the Prime Minister’s wife to play a role in charity, but denied trying to find her a job.
Case said he learned about potential roles for Carrie Symonds – who became Carrie Johnson when she married the Prime Minister last year – at the Earthshot Prize, which is part of the Duke’s charity and the Duchess of Cambridge, the Royal Foundation.
“In the fall of 2020, a former member of the No 10 team asked about opportunities for Carrie Johnson with environmental charities,” Case said in a letter to Deputy Labor Leader Angela Rayner yesterday. .
“I was happy to have a casual chat with someone involved with the Earthshot Prize about the roles available, as I would have anyone with relevant experience who wants to get involved in charity work. was informed that there was a publicly advertised role and possible volunteer opportunities.
“In accordance with the charitable status of the Earthshot Prize, the publicly advertised role was not publicly funded and any applicant should have gone through a full and open interview process. I don’t know how this information was used, but, as I understand it, Ms. Johnson did not pursue any of these opportunities.
He added that a No 10 spokesperson had said on behalf of Boris Johnson that the Prime Minister had never recommended Carrie Johnson for a role in the Earthshot Prize.
Carrie Johnson eventually accepted a position as director of communications at the Aspinall Foundation, an environmental charity.
Rayner had written to Case – who served as Prince William’s private secretary for almost two years before becoming permanent secretary No 10 in May 2020 and then cabinet secretary in September of that year – for answers to several questions.
She asked if the Prime Minister ‘has instructed, instructed or asked’ Case to discuss Carrie Johnson’s potential employment with the Royal Foundation and whether the Cabinet Secretary will refer to the Commissioner for Standards for breaching the Code of Conduct for public service.
Case said he would not refer to Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone, ‘because she oversees the code of conduct for parliamentarians, not public servants’ and added, ‘there has been no improper conduct. “.
Civil servants are bound by the Civil Service Code, with breaches investigated by departments. The Public Service Commission can investigate reports of violations after this point, but it has no formal sanctioning powers.
A report in The Telegraph On Tuesday, Case said Case had tried to secure a role for Carrie Johnson in the charity, but it was rejected due to fears it would be inappropriate for the Prime Minister’s fiancée to work with the Royal Family. .
This assertion follows a report in The temperature newspaper on Saturday which said Boris Johnson tried to secure a job for his then-girlfriend at the Foreign Office in 2018 when he was Foreign Secretary. At the time, Johnson was still married to his second wife, Marina Wheeler.
The story was described by Carrie Johnson’s spokesperson as “an old story that is as wrong now as it was then”. The temperature withdrew it after No 10 spoke to the newspaper.
In his letter, Rayner called for Johnson to be investigated into both allegations, saying: “It is clearly improper for the Prime Minister to be judge and jury in his own case.”
Rayner also wrote to Jonathan Evans, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, urging him to investigate Johnson about the two allegations. She said it would save Johnson from being “judge and jury in her own case.”
The CSPL oversees the standards system as a whole and does not generally investigate individual cases – but Rayner said it was unclear who else might be investigating Boris Johnson following the departure of the ethics adviser from the Prime Minister, Christopher Geidt, last week.
Since stepping down, Geidt has said the Prime Minister’s reported efforts to hire Carrie Johnson as FCO “may be ripe for investigation”.
When asked in the House of Commons on Wednesday if he had tried to secure both roles for Carrie Johnson, the Prime Minister said: ‘I know why the party opposite wants to talk about a non-existent job …because he doesn’t want to talk about what’s going on in the real world.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said the Prime Minister had ‘never recommended Ms Johnson for a government role, or as part of the Earthshot Prize’, but did not deny conversations had taken place.