Partygate: Who is Simon Case? The Bristol civil servant at the heart of Westminster scandal

Simon Case is the UK’s highest-ranking public official who has found himself at the heart of the Partygate scandal in Westminster. The senior civil servant from Bristol is understood to not be planning to resign despite reports last week that Boris Johnson was to make him to scapegoat amid the damning findings in the Sue Gray report.

It was revealed last Wednesday (May 25) week that the Prime Minister would not not be sacking the Bristol civil servant over Partygate. Mr Case is pictured in a photograph included in the Sue Gray report standing around the Cabinet table at Boris Johnson’s birthday party in June 2020 and did not receive a fine – but who is the Bristol public official at the forefront of the scandal this week?

Simon Case was born on December 27, 1978. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge studying history. He is married to Elizabeth Kistruck, chief finance officer for Hotels.com at Expedia Inc and they have three daughters.

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He first joined the civil service in 2006 to work for the Ministry of Defense and has since held various different positions assisting the Government. In March 2015, he joined Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as Director of Strategy.

In August 2020 he became the youngest Cabinet Secretary to date when Mr Johnson selected him for the role Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service, succeeding Mark Sedwill on 9 September 2020. The Prime Minister initially assigned Mr Case as the leader of the Westminster Christmas parties controversy – dubbed Partygate – in December 2021.

However, just over a week later on December 17, it was announced that he was to recuse himself from the inquiry because of reports that a party had been held in his private office. Sue Gray took over his role as the lead on the inquiry.

Mr Case said both the Government and Cabinet Office had “taken responsibility” for the events set out in the Partygate report on Wednesday when Sue Gray’s full report was released publicly, the Telegraph reports.

In a defiant email to staff seen by ITV News, Mr Case noted the need to “take the time to reflect on the report in full and consider the issues it has highlighted”.

Mr Case added: “There have been significant changes in No 10 and steps have also been taken to strengthen the corporate leadership across the Cabinet Office and No 10.”

Many people – including civil servants and union representatives – awaited the resignation of the senior civil servant amid the findings. One former leading civil servant told the Guardian that the events set out in the report reflected badly on Mr Case but the lack of sanction against him was, however, unsurprising, they added. “He’s joined at the hip with the prime minister. If Simon Case had gone, that would completely expose Johnson. He’s a shield.”

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