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An investigation has begun into allegations that material was leaked from within the civil service to supposedly damage the campaign of Tory leadership contender Penny Mordaunt.
Simon Case, the most senior civil servant in the country, confirmed that an inquiry has been launched into allegations of leaking.
David Davis, one of Ms Mordaunt’s most prominent backers within the Conservative Party, wrote to the Cabinet Secretary over the weekend to raise his concerns that information had been leaked to damage her leadership campaign.
In his response dated July 19, Mr Case said: “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.”
Mr Case gave no specific details of what the inquiry would focus on but the Telegraph newspaper has reported that it is thought to be linked to a leak to The Sunday Times newspaper related to accusations that Ms Mordaunt was involved in watering down the legal process for transitioning by transgender people.
“The investigation will be completed as quickly as possible given the importance of the subject,” Mr Case said.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said that it does not comment on leak investigations.