No inquiry into claims Boris Johnson proposed partner for £100k government job, says civil service chief

Decision on whether to launch probe is matter for the prime minister, says Simon Case

<p>Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie (Stefan Rousseau/PA)</p>

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

No investigation has been launched into allegations that Boris Johnson tried to appoint his then-girlfriend to a senior government role, the head of the civil service has confirmed.

Simon Case told a House of Commons committee that it was a decision for the prime minister himself whether to order an inquiry into his reported attempt to appoint Carrie Symonds – now his wife - his £100,000-a-year chief of staff as foreign secretary.

To laughter from members of the cross-party Public Administration Committee, committee chair William Wragg asked the cabinet secretary: “Is he not keen?”

Labour committee member John McDonnell said that the allegations amounted to “a potential flagrant abuse of power” and demanded to know why no investigation had been conducted to establish whether they were true.

Mr Case responded: “An investigation under the ministerial code, under the current rubric, can only be authorised by the prime minister.

“I don’t have any right of initiative of investigations.”

Mr McDonnell said that the PM’s former independent adviser on ethics, Lord Geidt, had described reports of the job offer as “ripe for investigation”.

And he asked Mr Case: “Haven’t you any responsibility, as the most senior civil servant in government, to uphold standards?

“Here we have a potential breach of basic standards by someone in high office and a former ethics adviser advises this is ‘ripe for investigation’ and you have not even raised it with the prime minister.”

An apparently annoyed Mr Case insisted that he had shown responsibility and said that he would not reveal whether he had discussed the issue with Mr Johnson.

All conversations between ministers and civil servants must remain private, he told the committee.

Mr McDonnell retorted: “I’m interpreting that as meaning you have had that conversation. We all have a cross to bear.”

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