Toby Young row: Jo Johnson and Sam Gyimah accused of ministerial code breaches

Former Universities Minister Jo Johnson and his successor Sam Gyimah came under fire after the controversial journalist was offered a role on the newly-created Office for Students (OfS) board last year.  The Huffington Post reports.

After an astounding number of sexist and offensive tweets and articles by Young were unearthed, he stood down in January, but questions remain over how he was given the role in the first place. 

Now, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has written to the Prime Minister to raise the alarm over how both MPs represented the much-criticised recruitment process in the House of Commons. 

She says statements made to MPs were directly contradicted by the independent Commissioner for Public Appointments and both Tories had failed to update the House. 

Johnson, who was made Transport Secretary in a January reshuffle, faced a deluge of criticism from MPs and allegations that he failed to order proper background checks by the Department for Education. 

He said that the recruitment process was in keeping with the Commissioner’s code – something required by the Ministerial Code. But the Commissioner published a damning report, which concluded that the Governance Code on Public Appointments had in fact been breached multiple times.

It highlighted a clear disparity in the amount of checks made on different OfS candidates and complained of “serious shortcomings in terms of fairness and transparency” in Young’s appointment. It also found there had been political interference and that DfE had failed to trawl his social media history.

Gyimah said that “the same due diligence was carried out by the same advisers on all of the candidates” for posts on the board of the OfS, though he accepted that there were failings in the appointment of Young. 

The Commissioner contradicts this also, Rayner says. The report found special advisers from No 10 carried out some checks and did not undertake the same due diligence for all candidates.

Read more Toby Young row: Jo Johnson and Sam Gyimah accused of ministerial code breaches

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