The Prime Minister faces questions related to the investigation into which Home Secretary Priti Patel bullied staff on charges of attempting to pressure his standard advisor to weaken the conclusion of his report.
Downing Street did not deny the suggestions that Boris Johnson tried and failed to convince Sir Alex Allan to tone down his conclusion that their behavior amounted to bullying when he found cases of yelling and cursing.
The adviser quit Friday as the Prime Minister overruled his conclusion that Ms. Patel had broken the Ministerial Code and stood by his Home Secretary.
Ms. Patel offered what she described as an “unqualified, blatant apology” and took up Sir Alex’s statement that she received no feedback on the effects of her behavior.
But Sir Philip Rutnam, who resigned as permanent secretary to the Home Office after accusing Ms. Patel of “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” against him, denied this.
He said she was advised not to yell at and curse employees for a month after her 2019 appointment and told her to treat employees with respect “on several other occasions”.
Sir Philip also said he was not interviewed for the investigation despite making a constructive motion to dismiss in a labor court.
Meanwhile, the Times reported on two unnamed senior Whitehall officials who said the prime minister tried and failed to get Sir Alex to tone down his report to find that there was no clear evidence of bullying.
Downing Street did not deny the report. Instead, Spokesman No. 10 said: “As expected, the Prime Minister spoke to Sir Alex Allan to further his understanding of the report.
“Sir Alex’s conclusions are entirely his own.”
Holly Lynch, Home Secretary for Shadow, said the “first unedited report” needed to be published in full and called for an independent investigation.
“These are serious allegations that suggest Boris Johnson was trying to disrupt an investigation into allegations of bullying against one of his closest political allies,” said the Labor MP.
Sir Alex noted that Ms. Patel had not always treated officials with “consideration and respect” and concluded that her approach has on occasion “amounted to what can be described as bullying in relation to the individual impact”.
He said Ms. Patel “did not consistently meet the stringent requirements of the Ministerial Code” even though there was “no evidence that she was aware of the effects of her behavior”.
The Home Secretary apologized and said there were “no excuses” for what happened, but highlighted Sir Alex’s assessment of her awareness.
She told the BBC that “any disturbance I caused is totally unintentional and of course at the time the report said that I was not made aware of problems”.
Sir Philip later issued an FDA union statement to officials stating that “at no time was he asked to provide evidence to the investigation.”
“The advice states that the Home Secretary was not given any feedback and therefore was not aware of any issues that she might otherwise have raised. That’s not right, ”he said.
“As early as August 2019, one month after her appointment, she was advised not to yell at or abuse employees.
“I informed them several times between September 2019 and February 2020 the importance of treating employees with respect and making changes to protect their health, safety and wellbeing.”
Mr. Johnson, who is the ultimate arbitrator for the Ministerial Code, ruled that Ms. Patel has not broken the rules and continues to have “complete confidence in her” and “now believes this matter is closed”.
The Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord Evans of Weardale, said Sir Alex’s resignation was “deeply worrying” and that his committee was “urgently” considering what had happened as part of its revision of the Ministerial Code.
Johnson’s press secretary Allegra Stratton said: “The Prime Minister takes these allegations extremely seriously personally. He hates bullying.
“He said he would not tolerate bullying. He did not tolerate bullying. It is not his belief that Priti Patel is a tyrant. “
Downing Street stated that the full report of Ms. Patel’s behavior would not be released to protect those who testified.