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20 Nov, 2020 14:18 20 Nov, 2020 14:18

Boris Johnson's adviser quits over Patel bullying report

priti patel mp

Boris Johnson's ethics adviser has quit after the prime minister rejected his conclusion that Home Secretary Priti Patel breached a code of conduct by bullying civil servants.

Alex Allan, a former senior civil servant, resigned after conducting a nine-month review of Patel's behaviour towards members of her team. The summary report, released on Friday, found Patel's behaviour had failed to conform with the ministerial code.

"The home secretary has not consistently met the high standards required by the ministerial code of treating her civil servants with consideration and respect," Allan said in the report.

Johnson responded by saying the code had not been breached and that Patel was "sorry for inadvertently upsetting" people she worked with. He said relationships, practices and culture at the Home Office were much better.

Allan then published a statement saying: “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 review was triggered by the sudden resignation of the Home Office's permanent secretary Philip Rutnam in February over Patel's alleged bullying. Rutnam has taken the extraordinary step of suing the government for constructive dismissal in an employment tribunal scheduled for 2021.

Nick Macpherson, the former top civil servant at the Treasury, said Allan's report was unusually critical, suggesting Patel had broken the code.

“In my experience, things have to be very bad indeed for a Cabinet Office inquiry to find fault in a minister - the system is rigged to conclude the contrary,” Macpherson said.

Allan's resignation is the latest episode in a fraught period for Johnson's government. His top adviser Dominic Cummings and communications chief Lee Cain were forced out a week ago to the delight of Johnson's backbench MPs.

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Pilling and Co Stockbrokers Ltd. is not responsible for the content or accuracy of third party news articles and we may not share the views of the author.

We provide third party news for your convenience and information only and make no representation or endorsement whatsoever and hereby exclude all liability for any loss or damage that may be incurred by you as a result of your access or use. Please note that third party content may be subject to terms and conditions imposed by the third party owner of that content.