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Annoyed by double standards

November 21, 2020 1:47 PM

ldm2 (Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash)The decision of the Prime Minister to ignore the findings of an independent investigation which found Home Secretary Priti Patel had shouted, swore and bullied junior staff thereby breaking the Ministerial Code which he had previously endorsed continues to generate further revelations

Firstly the Prime Minister is accused in The Times newspaper of interfering in the investigation when two unnamed senior Whitehall officials approached and failed to convince Sir Alex Allan to tone down his conclusion that her behaviour amounted to bullying. Downing Street did not deny these suggestions

Secondly and more disturbingly Sir Philip Rutnam, who quit as the Home Office's permanent secretary after accusing Ms Patel of a "vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign" against him, has spoken out against claims that Ms Patel was unaware that her actions were in any way intimidating. This was, you recall, a key part of the justification for her not resigning or being fired by the Prime Minister

He said she was advised not to shout and swear at staff the month after her appointment in 2019 and occasions". "I advised her on a number of further occasions between September 2019 and February 2020 about the need to treat staff with respect and to make changes to protect health, safety and wellbeing."

Since his accusations were a key cause of the investigation in the first place astonishingly Sir Philip also said he was not interviewed for the inquiry despite him having launched a constructive dismissal claim at an employment tribunal.

And finally Sir David Normington former top civil servant at the Home Office before Ms Patels tenure has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson's "concerning" response to an inquiry into Priti Patel's behaviour at the department, "It seems to me that there needs to be a recognition from her and the prime minister that she was found to have bullied staff, possibly in three departments, not just the Home Office and that is completely unacceptable. "Although it was good she apologised it wasn't an apology for bullying - there has been no acknowledgement for her or the prime minister that she bullied in fact the prime minister has simply put aside the findings of a report and the of independent adviser Alex Allan that she is a bully telling the prime minister: "You shouldn't have bullies in government".

"The system depends on the prime minister standing up for standards in public life and for taking action when his or her ministers breach those standards. For the first time as far as I can remember we have a prime minister who doesn't seem willing to stand up for high standards in public life."

Mr Johnson's press secretary Allegra Stratton said: "The prime minister does personally take these allegations exceedingly seriously. He loathes bullying.

"He did say that he would not tolerate bullying. He hasn't tolerated bullying. It is not his belief that Priti Patel is a bully."

This from the same man who yesterday sent a WhatsApp message to Tory MPs urging his Tory colleagues "Time to form a square about the prittster."

Most people look at the way Mr Trump has trampled on democratic norms and think it cannot happen here. The Prime Minister has taken the unprecedented step of retaining a minister who under any other administration would have been fired

The final irony is that this has all happened at the end of Anti-bullying week!!