Adviser finds Patel broke ministerial code – but adviser resigns while Patel stays

Johnson ignored the man he appointed to investigate.

The civil servant appointed to determine whether Priti Patel’s bullying broke the ministerial code has reportedly resigned after Boris Johnson rejected his advice and refused to sack the Home Secretary.

According to the BBC, Sir Alex Allan has resigned. His recently-published report found that Patel breached the ministerial code by bullying Home Office staff and shouting and swearing at them.

The ministerial code says ministers should treat civil servants with consideration, respect and professionalism. He said Patel’s frustration at staff “has manifested itself in forceful expression, including some occasions of shouting and swearing. This may not be done intentionally to cause upset, but that has been the effect on some individuals.”

The ministerial code also outlaws bullying. Allan said the code “defines bullying as intimidating or insulting behaviour that makes an individual feel uncomfortable, frightened, less respected or put down. Instances of the behaviour reported to the Cabinet Office would meet such a definition”.

In defence of Patel, Allan says that she was not given feedback on “the impact of her behaviour”. He says this “meant she was unaware of issues that she could otherwise have addressed” and since becoming aware of these issues her behaviour has improved.. He adds that high pressure may have contributed to her actions.

Allan concludes: “My advice is that the Home Secretary has 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.”

Priti Patel has reportedly apologised and will keep her job.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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