Colleagues defended British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday after the BBC and other media reported that an investigation into allegations of bullying against her found she had broken ministerial rules.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on officials in March to conduct an investigation “to establish the facts” after allegations were made against Patel, a senior minister in the government.
This followed the resignation of Philip Rutnam, the chief minister of the interior, who alleged that Patel was involved in bullying.
Citing unnamed sources, the BBC, other broadcasters and UK newspapers said a draft report found that Patel had violated the Ministerial Code – that ministers should treat officials with respect – and that there were indications of bullying, albeit “unintentionally “.
“In my extensive dealings with Priti Patel, she was nothing but polite and friendly,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who said he had not read the report, told Sky News and repeated other messages of support on Twitter.
Patel has always denied bullying allegations.
The government’s independent advisor’s report on standards was finalized in the summer, but Johnson failed to make it public, leading to allegations that he orchestrated a cover-up.
The problem comes at a difficult time for Johnson, who is trying to roll back his administration after his top adviser Dominic Cummings left Downing Street last week and the prime minister grapples with divisions in his ruling Conservative party over his COVID-19 policies .
“The process is still ongoing and the Prime Minister will publish any decision on this matter as soon as the process is completed,” said a government spokeswoman after the media reports.
Some media reports suggested that Johnson could bring the matter up on Friday but would not reprimand Patel.
His administration has had an uncomfortable relationship with senior officials, and several have resigned since his election victory last December, as part of what was seen as Cummings’ desire to disrupt the civil service.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, spokesman for internal affairs for the opposition Labor Party, said the full report should be released and the Independent Committee on Public Standards should investigate Johnson and Patel.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)