Angela Rayner has challenged Cabinet Secretary Simon Case about his role in the prime minister’s alleged attempt to secure high-paying job for his now-wife, Carrie Johnson.
The Vice Labor leader has written to Case, a former private secretary to Prince William, to ask if he played a personal role in trying to get Carrie Johnson a job at the Prince’s charity, the Royal Foundation, as reported this week.
In his letter, seen by the Guardian, Rayner asks Case a number of questions, including: “Did the Prime Minister instruct, request or ask you to discuss the appointment of Carrie Johnson with the Royal Foundation? ” and: “Would you like to refer to the Standards Commissioner for violating the Code of Conduct?”
She adds: “It is clearly inappropriate for the Prime Minister to be a judge and jury in his own case, so I ask you to confirm that this case will be the subject of an independent inquiry and fully investigated.”
Case was hand-picked as Cabinet Secretary by Johnson. He has made some younger colleagues furious by escaping a punishment for closed parties, despite having to refrain from investigating them when it turned out that a gathering was being held at his office.
Rayner has also written separately to Lord Evans, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, urging him to investigate both this claim of the royal job and reports, confirming to the Guardian that Johnson was trying to hire his then mistress into a senior position. role in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2018.
Evans’ committee oversees the standard system as a whole and does not normally investigate individual cases – but Rayner points out that after the Prime Minister’s ethical adviser Lord Geidt resigned last week, it is unclear who else would do it.
“In the absence of an ethical adviser, and given that it would be inappropriate for the Prime Minister to be a judge and jury in his own case, I ask you to launch an independent inquiry into this matter,” she writes.
Evans, a former leader of MI5, recently warned that Johnson risked undermining public confidence in ethics in public life. Without an overhaul of the system, including strengthening the role that Geidt had, he said, “the suspicion of the way the ministerial code is administered will linger”. Geidt subsequently resigned, saying he had been put in an “impossible and disgusting” position.
Since resigning, Geidt has said the prime minister’s apparent efforts to hire Carrie Johnson to a taxpayer-funded role four years ago “could be ripe for investigation.”
Downing Street has suggested that it could not hire a direct successor to Geidt, suggesting that it could instead hand over the job to a panel or committee.
In the House of Commons on Wednesday d. Johnson markedly deviated from the questionn on whether he had tried to get Carrie Johnson appointed to a senior position while he was Secretary of State. At the time, he was still married to his second wife, Marina Wheeler.
That Labor MP Chris Elmore asked him: “Has he ever considered appointing his current spouse to a government post or to an organization in the work of royal households? Be honest, Prime Minister, yes or no?”
Johnson replied, “I know why the opposite party wants to talk about non-existent jobs … because they do not want to talk about what’s going on in the real world.” He then went on to discuss employment statistics.