Cabinet secretary Simon Case has launched an investigation into leaks to the media , after an MP raised concerns that information may have been shared in an attempt to influence the Tory leadership race.
Case wrote to Penny Mordaunt supporter David Davis after he had raised concerns about a leak from the civil service .
The investigation is thought to concern a leak to the Sunday Times of documents about changes to gender self-identification policy, which were drawn up by civil servants when Mordaunt was equalities minister, the Telegraph reported.
Mordaunt was knocked out of the Conservative Party leadership contest yesterday , losing out to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, one of whom will become the next prime minister in September.
A copy of Case’s letter to Davis was posted on Twitter by ITV’s Paul Brand but subsequently taken down by the journalist.
In the letter, the cabinet secretary and head of the civil service wrote: "Thank you for your letter of 17 July, raising your concerns about the apparent leaking of information designed to influence the Conservative leadership election.
“I have been very clear in writing with the civil service that it is paramount that public resources are not used to support leadership campaigns during the Conservative Party leadership election. Further to that, unauthorised disclosure of government information to the media is clearly inappropriate.
“In light of these facts and the concerns you raise, I can confirm that I have launched a leak investigation into this matter. The investigation will be completed as quickly as possible given the importance of the subject.”
Case wrote to permanent secretaries after Boris Johnson announced his resignation earlier this month, reminding them of the responsibilities of the civil service during the leadership campaign, and they conveyed his message to staff.
An email sent by Cabinet Office permanent secretary Alex Chisholm and No.10 perm sec Samantha Jones urged officials in their departments to“continue to observe the core civil service values, and ensure in particular that we preserve our political impartiality and that public resources are not used to support leadership campaigns”.
The Cabinet Office said it does not comment on leak investigations.