Coronavirus knocks Priti Patel bullying allegations out of the public’s mind

The number of Priti Patel Google searches has dropped.

Priti Patel

Public and press interest in bullying allegations against Priti Patel has dropped as the coronvirus has developed into a full-scale pandemic.

Analysis of Google searches in the UK shows that the UK public were searching Priti Patel’s name frequently in late February but, since a peak on Wednesday March 4, interest has declined back to normal levels.

At the same time, searches for ‘coronavirus’ have continued to rise. In absolute terms though, the number of searches for ‘coronavirus’ has always been much greater than for ‘Priti Patel’.

Among the rising search terms associated with Priti Patel are ‘bullying’ and ‘Philip Rutnam’.

Philip Rutnam was the Home Office’s top civil servant who resigned on 29 February. He accused Priti Patel of orchestrating a “vicious and orchestrated campaign” against him and said he would sue the government for constructive dismissal.

Following this, the BBC reported an official in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) received a £25,000 payout after alleging Patel, then employment minister, bullied him in 2015.

While employment minister, she also throw a folder at an official’s face, according to a source quoted by the Daily Mail.

BBC Newsnight then revealed that officials in her private office at the Department for International Development had accused her of humiliating civil servants.

On 2 March, the Cabinet Office announced they were investigating whether Patel had breached the ministerial code.

Priti Patel denies all the bullying allegations.

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