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Civil servant issues landmark whistleblowing claim following accusations in media against Boris Johnson and Simon Case

A civil servant who was dismissed after publicly accusing the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and those around him of lying to the public and criticising the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case over the handling of allegations relating to Chris Pincher has launched an employment tribunal claim against his government employers including GCHQ.

Posted on 25 January 2023

The Civil Servant of 17 years’ service, who is represented by law firm Leigh Day, was dismissed from his role after appearing on a phone-in slot on the James O’Brien show on LBC radio. During the appearance on 5 July 2022, where he was known as “Stuart”, he called for Simon Case to resign over the handling of the sexual assault claims against former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher. 
 
Later that day Stuart also emailed Mr Case directly to set out his concerns and called for him to resign.
 
Two days later Stuart was suspended and an investigation resulted in a disciplinary hearing which concluded that he had breached the Civil Service Code and he was subsequently dismissed in late September 2022.
 
Stuart has now launched an Employment Tribunal case claiming that he spoke out to end corruption in government and should therefore be protected by whistleblowing laws.
 
Current employment law does not allow those employed at GCHQ and in the secret intelligence services generally from bringing whistleblowing claims, even where the subject of the whistleblowing is unconnected to security matters. Therefore staff working in those government sectors are subject to a blanket ban on employment rights which Stuart’s lawyers will be arguing is a disproportionate imposition relative to the specific national security purpose of the ban. 
 
As it currently stands, a staff member working at GCHQ who publicly disclosed a colleague's intention to commit crime, including murder, would have no recourse if they were dismissed for doing so.
 
Leigh Day will be arguing on Stuart’s behalf that the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Act require the Employment Tribunal and the courts to reinterpret the current unfair dismissal provisions so that Stuart’s claim as a whistleblower can be heard.  Stuart’s legal team believes that his case would have landmark implications if successful.
 
Mike Cain, a partner at law firm Leigh Day, who is representing Stuart said:
 
“This case is a question of proportionality, access to justice and ultimately human rights. Our client is not seeking to argue for the removal of the proscription on claims where a civil servant would be unlawfully making use of security and intelligence related information. What he is seeking to achieve is the right to the protections all other employees enjoy when they believe they have been mistreated for speaking up about wrongdoing and no security related risks factors are involved.”
 

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