Priti Patel didn’t breach ministerial code over bullying claims: UK PM

(171108) — LONDON, Nov. 8, 2017 (Xinhua) — Priti Patel delivers her keynote speech during the Conservative Party Annual Conference 2017 in Manchester, Britain on Oct. 3, 2017. Priti Patel resigned on Nov. 8, 2017 as UK international development secretary amid controversy over her undeclared meetings with Israeli officials, local media reported. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

London, Nov 21 (IANS) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that his Home Secretary Priti Patel did not breach the ministerial code over bullying accusations.

The latest move prompted the resignation of Alex Allan, the government’s independent adviser on standards who was in charge of the inquiry into the Home Secretary’s conduct, reports Xinhua news agency

In his report, Allan said Patel had “not consistently met the high standards required by the ministerial code of treating her civil servants with consideration and respect”.

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

“To that extent her behaviour has been in breach of the ministerial code, even if unintentionally,” he added.

However, the Prime Minister on Friday ruled that Patel has not breached the ministerial code.

Johnson said he had full confidence in his home secretary and “considers this matter now closed”.

The inquiry was launched after Home Office chief Philip Rutnam, who is suing for constructive dismissal, resigned in February.

Rutnam alleged that the staff felt Patel had “created fear”.

According to the sources, the report is understood to have looked at Patel’s behaviour at three different government departments – the Home Office, Work and Pensions and International Development.

Despite the inquiry, several Conservative MPs have backed Patel.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that she was an “excellent Home Secretary” who had “been nothing but courteous and kind in all the dealings I’ve had with her”.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat said Patel was popular “across” the party because she was “hardworking, determined and has been very kind to many”.

MP Julie Marson said: “Like many women operating in a man’s world, you have to be strong and decisive.”

An Indian-origin, Patel became the Home Secretary in July 2019.

She has previously served as the Secretary of State for International Development (2016-17), Minister of State for Employment (2015-16), Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (2014-15) and is also the incumbent MP for Witham.

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