The British government’s adviser on ministerial standards has resigned after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his backing to Home Secretary Priti Patel following an inquiry into claims she bullied staff.
Sir Alex Allan announced his resignation on Friday immediately after the government released a statement that Patel’s actions amounted to “behaviour that can be described as bullying.”
I recognise that it is for the Prime Minister to make a judgement on whether actions by a Minister amount to a breach of the Ministerial Code.
“But I feel that it is right that I should now resign from my position as the Prime Minister’s independent adviser on the Code.”
The government said Johnson had “full confidence” in Patel and that, as the arbiter of the ministerial code, the PM judged that Patel had not breached it.
But in his report Allan said: “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.”
Allan resigned because Johnson had ignored advice, a government source told Sky News.
Patel has now said she is sorry that her behaviour had upset people, explaining: “It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone.”
“I am very grateful for the hard work of thousands of civil servants who help to deliver the government’s agenda.
“I acknowledge that I am direct and have at times got frustrated, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his support.”
It comes after a nine-month inquiry into allegations that the home secretary bullied staff and “created fear” in her department.
An investigation was launched after senior Home Office civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam resigned in February.
Opposition politicians, including Labour leader Keir Starmer, have claimed Johnson was involved in a cover-up of Patel’s behaviour.
“It is hard to imagine another workplace in the UK where this behaviour would be condoned by those at the top,” Starmer said.
“The Government should be setting an example. Instead, it is one rule for Boris Johnson and his friends, another for everyone else.”
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