Priti Patel stays in Cabinet despite bullying probe findings


Boris Johnson is expected to reject calls to sack Priti Patel as Home Secretary today after a bullying investigation that found she broke conduct rules also blasted ‘inflexible’ civil servants for obstructing her. 

Ms Patel breached the requirements in the ministerial code to treat civil servants with consideration and respect, according to leaks of the long-awaited investigation into the Cabinet minister.       

Normally ministers are expected to resign if they breach the code, but the Prime Minister makes the final decision. 

The Government’s independent adviser on standards, Sir Alex Allan is understood to have concluded that Ms Patel had ‘not consistently met the high standards required by the ministerial code’. 

But she will be allowed to keep her job by Boris Johnson after Sir Alex’s report found that any bullying was ‘unintentional’.

He handed her another get-out-of-jail free card by also including heavy criticism of the senior civil servants that she worked with.

According to a source with a copy of the report, Sir Alex wrote: ‘The Civil Service itself needs to reflect on its role during this period.’

Senior Tories rallied around the Home Secretary  today as Labour and other parties called for her to be sacked.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio today she was ‘nothing but courteous’, adding: ‘The truth is she’s also absolutely determined to deliver on the priorities on which we were elected. She’s a brilliant Home Secretary.’ 

Demands have been growing for the publication of its findings into Ms Patel’s (pictured today) conduct

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio today she was 'nothing but courteous', adding: 'The truth is she's also absolutely determined to deliver on the priorities on which we were elected. She's a brilliant Home Secretary'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio today she was ‘nothing but courteous’, adding: ‘The truth is she’s also absolutely determined to deliver on the priorities on which we were elected. She’s a brilliant Home Secretary’

Sir Philip Rutnam, who was the Home Office's permanent secretary, quit earlier this year, accusing Ms Patel of a 'vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign' against him and is claiming constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.

Sir Philip Rutnam, who was the Home Office’s permanent secretary, quit earlier this year, accusing Ms Patel of a ‘vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign’ against him and is claiming constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.

Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said Ms Patel was a ‘formidable Home Secretary’ and an ‘asset to Government’.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said he was ‘proud that my friend and neighbour (Priti Patel) is leading the Home Office and delivering increased police numbers and secure borders’.

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

And senior Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said Ms Patel has support across the party because she is ‘hard working, determined and has been very kind to many’.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘She knows her own mind was a great asset to @CommonsForeign and is doing a tough job in @ukhomeoffice.’

But Labour accused Mr Johnson of presiding over a ‘cover-up’ after it emerged that a fact-finding report into her behaviour will not be made public. Instead, the Prime Minister is expected to release an assessment of its findings.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said suggestions that Mr Johnson will not sack Ms Patel showed ‘all the hallmarks of a prime ministerial cover-up’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think we need to see the full report, it needs to be published in full, line by line, and the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister need to come to Parliament to answer questions because the revelations in recent days have been extraordinarily serious.

‘I’m afraid this really does have all the hallmarks of a prime ministerial cover-up and raises questions about his judgment.

‘If what has been reported is correct, then it is tantamount to the Prime Minister condoning bullying.’

Mr Thomas-Symonds said that given the nine-month delay in finalising the investigation into Ms Patel’s conduct, he had ‘lost confidence in this process’ and said the matter should be referred to the Committee on Standards in Public Life for a ‘full investigation to take place and establish the facts’.

In his report, Sir Alex is believed to have laid significant criticism at the door of civil servants who worked with Ms Patel, the MP for Witham in Essex.

‘The Home Office was not as flexible as it could have been in responding to the Home Secretary’s requests and direction’ he wrote.

‘She has legitimately not always felt supported by the department. In addition, no feedback was given to the Home Secretary of the impact of her behaviour, which meant she was unaware of issues that she could have otherwise addressed.’ 

It said she would be handed a written warning by Mr Johnson but not lose her Cabinet post over its findings

It said she would be handed a written warning by Mr Johnson but not lose her Cabinet post over its findings

It is understood Sir Alex went on to say that Miss Patel had ‘also become justifiably in many incidences frustrated by the Home Office leadership’s lack of responsiveness and the lack of support she felt’.

He noted that there has been an improvement in the relationship between the Home Secretary and her officials in recent months. The Home Secretary has always denied wrongdoing, and sources close to her last night insisted no formal complaints were ever made. 

Sir Philip Rutnam, who was the Home Office’s permanent secretary, quit earlier this year, accusing Ms Patel of a ‘vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign’ against him and is claiming constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.

Ms Patel has expressed concern at the ‘false’ claims and she denies all allegations of bullying.  

Who is Priti Patel, the Home Secretary who made a shock return to the government after Boris Johnson won power?

Priti Patel was brought back in to the heart of Government by Boris Johnson in July 2019, less than two years after she quit the Cabinet in disgrace.

The daughter of Gujarati Ugandan Asians, she picked up her Tory values and work ethic from her parents.

The right-winger and vocal Brexiteer’s maternal family was originally from Gujarat in India, before moving to Uganda in the early 20th century and prospered in business.

They moved to the UK in the 1960s, before the East African nation’s 80,000 Asian community was were expelled by the murderous dictator Idi Amin in 1972. 

Priti Patel is pictured as a baby with her mother Anjana, who along with her father Sushil initially lodged in one small room in North London while he completed his studies in engineering

Priti Patel is pictured as a baby with her mother Anjana, who along with her father Sushil initially lodged in one small room in North London while he completed his studies in engineering

Her parents, Sushil and Anjana, initially lodged in one small room in North London while he completed his studies in engineering.

Eventually, they were able to buy a small house in Harrow and used that to secure a bank loan for their first shop, a newsagent in Tottenham.

Priti and her younger sister and brother were frequently called upon to work alongside their parents in the several shops and sub-post offices they ran in Nottingham, Ipswich and Norwich.

When Priti became secondary school age, the family bought an upmarket chocolate shop in Hertfordshire where there were good state schools, including Watford Grammar where she was head girl.

She later got a degree in economics, sociology and social anthropology at Keele University and a post-graduate diploma in government and politics at Essex. 

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