UK civil service chief under pressure over new lockdown party claims

LONDON — As judgement day looms for Boris Johnson, the top of the U.Okay. civil service faces a nightmare of his personal after particulars of a 3rd alleged rule-breaking occasion in his division got here to gentle.

Johnson is braced for the end result of an investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray right into a sequence of claims about Downing Street and Whitehall workers breaking lockdown guidelines to carry social gatherings.

It will look at two events held at Downing Street final April on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, for which No. 10 apologized Friday to Buckingham Palace.

That investigation is now additionally anticipated to handle the revelation {that a} leaving occasion was held within the Cabinet Office on December 17, 2020 for Kate Josephs, the previous head of the federal government unit accountable for drawing up COVID restrictions. 

Josephs mentioned in a press release posted on Twitter that she was “truly sorry.”

The Telegraph reported {that a} supply with data of the incident mentioned that Simon Case, the top of the civil service, was invited to the Josephs occasion. The Cabinet Office mentioned “categorically” that he didn’t attend.

Case was initially put in control of the inquiry into Downing Street events however recused himself final month after studies of lockdown-breaking social gatherings in his personal division. Civil service officers claimed he had attended drinks outside his office in Whitehall in December 2020, as first reported by POLITICO and the Independent — allegations which had been categorically denied by the Cabinet Office. 

Separately, the Times reported that Case attended one other Christmas occasion in his division later in December 2020. The Cabinet Office acknowledged a digital quiz had taken place however mentioned the cupboard secretary “played no part in the event.”

The information of a 3rd occasion on the Cabinet Office raises recent questions in regards to the function of Case in implementing any adjustments or sanctions in opposition to civil servants arising from Gray’s report. 

As cupboard secretary, Case is Gray’s boss and the final word arbiter of self-discipline within the civil service. 

A former Conservative minister mentioned Case must have been the one “you might have thought would have been individually responsible for exercising a moral compass” and shutting down events, however “he himself appeared not to recognize it for what it was.”

Whitehall workers who spoke to POLITICO and the Independent earlier this week voiced issues about Case’s impartiality, with one saying that the cupboard secretary would successfully be “marking his own homework.”

Gray had been anticipated to ship her report early subsequent week, but it surely now faces a delay as new allegations pile up.

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