Colleagues defended UK Home Secretary Preeti Patel on Friday after reports from the BBC and other media that an investigation looked into allegations of intimidation against her in which she broke the minister’s rules.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson in March asked officials to investigate to “establish the facts” after allegations were made against Patel, one of the government’s most important ministers.
This was followed by the resignation of Philip Ratnam, a senior Home Office official who accused Patel of threatening him.
Citing anonymous sources, the BBC, other British broadcasters and newspapers said a draft report revealed Patel had violated the ministerial code – saying ministers should treat officials with respect – and that there were evidence of “unintentional” bullying.
Health Minister Matt Hancock said: “There is nothing polite and compassionate about my widespread relationship with Priti Patel,” adding that she has not read the report, telling Sky News to ‘other posts of support on Twitter.
Patel has consistently rejected the bullying allegations.
The government’s independent advisor on standards report expired this summer, but Johnson did not release it, leading to claims he was covering up.
The issue comes at a difficult time for Johnson, who is trying to reset his government after his top adviser, Dominic Cummings, left Downing Street last week and the Prime Minister’s split within his ruling Conservative Party over his COVID-19 policy Catch with
According to media reports, a government spokesman said: “The process is ongoing and the Prime Minister will make any decision on the matter public once the process is completed.”
Some media reports suggested Johnson could take up the case on Friday, but would not reprimand Patel.
He has had a difficult relationship with senior government officials, having quit many positions since his election victory last December, seen as Cummings’ desire to step down from the civil service.
The full report is expected to be released and the Independent Committee on Standards in Public Life should investigate Johnson and Patel, said Nick Thomas-Symonds, opposition Labor Party spokesperson for home affairs.
(This story is not edited by NDTV staff and automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)