Simon Case has confirmed he discussed a potential role for Carrie Johnson with Prince William’s charity.
In a letter on Thursday night, the Cabinet Secretary said he held “informal” discussions with the Royal Foundation, which manages the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charitable work, in Autumn 2020.
It comes after The Telegraph revealed on Wednesday that Mr Case approached the Foundation to discuss her taking a job as Director of Communications for the Earthshot Prize, which awards £1m for charitable work.
“I was happy to have an informal conversation with someone involved with the Earthshot prize about what roles were available, as I would have done for anyone with relevant experience who was keen to get involved with charity work,” he said.
Mr Case said he had not “recommended” the role for Mrs Johnson, who at the time was the Prime Minister’s fiancée.
This newspaper understands the approach was rebuffed amid concerns it could undermine the political neutrality of the royals’ work.
His letter came in reply to another letter from Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party.
Ms Rayner asked Mr Case a series of questions about his involvement in the alleged job hunt, including whether he had spoken to the Foundation about the role.
She also asked him whether Mr Johnson had raised the issue with the Queen or any other member of the Royal Family.
Mrs Johnson eventually took a job as Director of Communications at the Aspinall Foundation, an environmental charity.
In her letter to the Cabinet Secretary on Thursday night, Ms Rayner said: “There are now serious questions for the Prime Minister to answer about potentially impropriety and conflict of interest in his lobbying for a high paying tax-funded job for his partner in 2018, Carrie Johnson.
“Reports suggest that while Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson tried to get Ms Johnson appointed to a Foreign Office job in 2018, and to other roles including one with a royal charity.”
Simon Case's response
Mr Case said: “I was informed that there was one publicly advertised role and possible volunteering opportunities.
“In keeping with the Earthshot Prize’s charitable status, the publicly advertised role was not publicly funded, and any applicant would have been required to go through a full and open interview process.
“I am not aware of how this information was used, but as I understand it, Mrs Johnson did not pursue any of these opportunities.”
Angela Rayner calls for new ethics adviser
In a separate letter to Lord Evans, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Ms Rayner called for officials who were allegedly involved in the attempt to secure Mrs Johnson a job to give public evidence.
She said Ben Gascoigne, one of Mr Johnson’s closest aides, and Dominic Cummings, his former chief adviser, should be hauled in front of investigators.
She also called for a new emergency ministerial ethics adviser to be appointed soon to avoid Mr Johnson being “judge and jury in his own case”.
Downing Street has denied that Mr Johnson recommended his then-fiancée.
Her spokesman has denied that she was floated with the Foundation for the job.