SIMON Case is Britain’s top civil servant who has stepped down from heading the investigation into allegations No10 staff held Christmas parties last year.
Boris Johnson had appointed him to look into the claims but he came under pressure after it was alleged Case’s own team flouted the Tier 3 rules in place.
What is Simon Case’s job?
Case, 42, is the Cabinet Secretary, making him the country’s most senior civil servant.
He was appointed by the Prime Minister in September 2020, taking over from Sir Mark Sedwill.
Previously he had held the post of Downing Street Permanent Secretary.
Case has also worked as Prince William’s Private Secretary.
In early December 2021 Case was appointed by Johnson to probe the allegations that No10 staff flouted lockdown rules by boozing and playing party games last Christmas.
Case stepped down from the investigation a week later after allegations were made that staff in his own department had flouted Tier 3 rules last year.
The Cabinet Office admitted that six members of his team had bought booze and snacks into the office on December 17, 2020 and took part in a virtual quiz with other colleagues from their desk.
Email invites were sent in advance called it “Christmas party!” – coming the night before Mr Johnson’s own team were accused of a boozy wine and cheese knees-up.
Mr Case admitted he was aware of the social gathering that Labour claims appears to have broken the strict rules against social gatherings in place in London at the time.
But the top mandarin denied other claims that a bigger party had taken place in his vast suite of offices in the heart of Whitehall.
What have Downing Street said?
When asked if the Cabinet Secretary had been at any social gatherings, the PM’s spokesman insisted: “You can be assured due diligence will have been observed.”
Last night one top minister branded the latest twist in the saga “f***ing amateur hour.”
Who will take over from Simon Case?
Case has been replaced by Sue Gray, Whitehall’s former top sleazebuster
The official served as head of the Government’s ethics team for five years and has a fearsome reputation as a no-nonsense street-fighter.
A statement said: “To ensure the ongoing investigation retains public confidence the Cabinet Secretary has recused himself for the remainder of the process.”
Labour said there was “growing evidence of a culture of turning a blind eye to the rules.”
What is being investigated?
The investigation will examine allegations Westminster staff held a number of parties during the festive period in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic when there were restrictions in place banning such gatherings.
Downing Street staff are said to have held parties after their planned Christmas party was cancelled due to the restrictions.
Johnson has denied any restrictions were broken.
Video of a practice press conference was leaked to ITV which contained joking references to a party having been held which is thought to have taken place on December 18, 2020.
The BBC reported “several dozen” people had attended the event and that “party games were played, food and drink were served, and the party went on past midnight”.
Then Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton, who featured in the footage, then resigned.
Shaun Bailey resigned from his position as chair of the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee after admitting to a party on December 14, 2020 with Conservative Party staff.
An alleged gathering on December 10, 2020 at the Department of Education will also be investigated.
Allegations have also been made that Johnson attended a Downing Street party on May 15, 2020 during the first lockdown.