"Sorry If I Upset People", Says Priti Patel After Bullying Inquiry

Clay Curtis
November 20, 2020

But the Prime Minister's adviser on Ministerial Standards, Sir Alex Allan, has resigned in response to Mr Johnson's decision to keep Ms Patel as Home Secretary.

Ms Patel, who has always denied allegations of bullying, apologised, saying she is "sorry" that she has upset people with her behaviour.

Normally ministers are expected to resign if they breach the code.

The Home Office provided a statement saying Ms Patel and Sir Philip were "deeply concerned about the number of false allegations appearing in the media". If I were prime minister, the home secretary would have been removed from her job. He is also reassured that relationships, practices and culture in the Home Office are much improved.

"She is delivering the first duty of government, protection of the British people", he tweeted.

It's resulted in the prime minister's adviser on ministerial standards walking out after Boris Johnson publicly disagreed with his conclusions. She is action orientated and can be direct.

He said that Patel also felt, "justifiably in many instances", that there was a lack of support and responsiveness from senior civil servants. "It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone", Patel said in a statement.

Multiple sources familiar with a draft of the report told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg that Patel failed to meet requirements of the ministerial code - a government document that sets out rules and standards for United Kingdom ministers.

He added: "Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals".

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"We need an independent process that's not relying upon a Prime Minister making a political judgement rather than judging based on the evidence", he added.

He said: "It is hard to imagine another workplace in the United Kingdom where this behaviour would be condoned by those at the top".

Then there's the question of what example this sets. "It smacks of one rule for the government and one rule for everyone else", he said.

Earlier this week the former head of the civil service Lord Sedwill told MPs the investigation was now "with" the prime minister.

Members of Britain's Conservative government defended the country's interior minister on Friday after an investigation reportedly found she broke ministerial rules by bullying staff.

Boris Johnson has said he continues to have "full confidence" in Priti Patel following a report concluding the home secretary had "unintentionally" breached the ministerial code in her behaviour towards civil servants.

A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March over allegations that Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments, but the result of the probe has yet to be revealed.

Sir Philip Rutnam is pursuing a constructive dismissal claim at an employment tribunal, which is due to be heard over 10 days next September.

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