Dan Rosenfield (Photo: Getty)
The Cabinet Office is refusing to say how much was spent on a “custom built” wardrobe made for a former top aide of Boris Johnson.
In January it was reported that Dan Rosenfield, the former Downing Street chief of staff, had “insisted” on having a wardrobe put in his office and one was “custom built overnight”.
HuffPost UK submitted a Freedom of Information request on January 10 asking how much the wardrobe cost and what make or brand it was.
The Cabinet Office spent nearly four months debating whether they should release the details.
The FoI team came back three times confirming that they held the information, but each time claimed they needed to delay their response by 20 working days.
They said the information could prejudice the commercial interests of a person and they needed more time to consider whether it passed the public interest test.
“The Cabinet Office has not yet reached a decision on whether the balance of the public interest favours disclosure of this information,” they wrote.
Separately, The Spectator was also pursuing the costs via FoI.
Eventually HuffPost UK submitted a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office, after which the Cabinet Office shut down the case once and for all, citing “data protection” reasons.
They claimed: “We consider that there would be no overriding legitimate interest or necessity in disclosure that overrides the reasonable expectations of privacy of the individual concerned.”
The final letter from the Cabinet Office to HuffPost UK (Photo: Getty / HuffPost UK)
In their FoI response, the Cabinet Office said they had a “duty of care” both to employees and former employees.
They insisted that Rosenfield had “no personal involvement” in the purchase of any such item.
“We would note that the former staff member had no personal involvement in either the procurement or the purchase of any such item,” they said.
The Cabinet Office press office has also declined to comment on the story or answer HuffPost UK’s questions about the wardrobe.
Earlier this year a source told The Sunday Times Rosenfield “insisted” that a custom built wardrobe was found for his office.
The source told the newspaper: “He insisted on having a wardrobe put in his office so he had somewhere to hang his suits, because he cycles in. When a wardrobe was found, he didn’t like it, so he insisted something was custom-built overnight.
“Facilities moved heaven and earth to sort it out; the next morning he was angry because his office smelt of wood stain.”
Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney said: “This government has gone from scandal to sleaze and almost everywhere in-between.
“Now we’re seeing even more skeletons come out of the closet and this time it’s custom-built at the cost of the taxpayer.
“While millions of families and pensioners struggle with a crippling cost of living emergency, the Cabinet Office are shelling out cash for fancy wardrobes.
“Yet again, the government have proved they are out of touch with the British people - they should at least confess and tell us how much has been spent.”
Rosenfield resigned amid an exodus of Downing Street staff in February this year.
It came amid a shakeup of No.10 as the partygate allegations engulfed the government.
Repeated attempts to contact Rosenfield through the Cabinet Office were unsuccessful, as were attempts to reach him through a family member and other organisations.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.