The Prime Minister’s decision that Home Secretary Priti Patel did not breach the ministerial code comes nine months after concerns over her behaviour towards officials were first revealed.
It was reported that the PM, via What’s app, ordered Tory MPs: “Time to form a square around the prittster”
They did what they were told.
Women and equalities minister Liz Truss described Ms Patel as a “great person” who is “compassionate, determined, hard working and professional”.
Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said Ms Patel was a “formidable Home Secretary” and an “asset to Government”.
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said he was “proud that my friend and neighbour (Priti Patel) is leading the Home Office and delivering increased police numbers and secure borders”.
“She is delivering the first duty of government, protection of the British people,” he tweeted.
And senior Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said Ms Patel has support across the party because she is “hard working, determined and has been very kind to many”.
He wrote on Twitter: “She knows her own mind was a great asset to @CommonsForeign and is doing a tough job in @ukhomeoffice.”
But many people were foaming about the PMs decision not to sack Patel.
Actor Stephen Mangan Tweeted: “There are Priti Patels in every industry. In mine they are the ones who are sweet and charming with the producers & directors and total c*nts to the runners.”
Here is a timeline of how an inquiry into allegations of bullying by Ms Patel developed:
Reports emerged saying Ms Patel had sought to remove then Home Office Permanent Secretary Sir Philip Rutnam after a series of rows and that Sir Philip had raised concerns about her with the Cabinet Office.
The Times newspaper claimed multiple sources inside the Home Office accused Ms Patel of “bullying” and “belittling” officials in meetings and creating an “atmosphere of fear”.
Allies defended Ms Patel, while the Home Office said no formal complaints had been made against the Cabinet minister.
The Home Office provided a statement saying Ms Patel and Sir Philip were “deeply concerned about the number of false allegations appearing in the media”.
It came amid a report from the Sunday Times that intelligence chiefs did “not trust” Ms Patel and had limited intelligence-sharing with her, prompting a strong Government denial.
Meanwhile, then Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill told all civil servants that advice they provide for ministers and “any debates” around it should remain “private”.
Sir Philip quit his post and launched a blistering attack on Ms Patel, saying he had been the target of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” which he accused the minister of orchestrating.
He announced he would be pursuing a claim for “constructive, unfair dismissal” in the courts.
It was revealed the Prime Minister had asked the Cabinet Office to “establish the facts” following allegations that Ms Patel has breached the ministerial code.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove confirmed the action following an urgent question from then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Gove said Ms Patel “absolutely rejects these allegations”.
Then Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott called on Ms Patel to stand down while complaints against her were looked into.
The Prime Minister said he was “sticking by” his beleaguered Home Secretary in a public show of support.
Civil servants’ union the FDA revealed Sir Philip had submitted his claim for “constructive dismissal” to an employment tribunal.
Labour demanded the inquiry into allegations that Ms Patel bullied officials be made public “as soon as possible”.
There had been no official comment on whether the inquiry had concluded, but multiple reports said she had been cleared of breaching the ministerial code.
Labour reiterated calls for the inquiry report to be published immediately.
It came after reports in The Times of a “stand-off” between senior officials and political aides over the publication of the inquiry’s findings.
Cabinet Secretary Simon Case declined to state whether the report would ever be published, saying it was up to the Prime Minister to draw conclusions from the probe and decide whether to make it public.
Lord Sedwill, now former head of the civil service, said the investigation into the allegations against Ms Patel was “with” the Prime Minister, saying he understood Mr Johnson had been given sight of the findings.
The BBC said a draft report concluded in the summer that Ms Patel had broken the rules on ministers’ behaviour.
Sir Alex Allan, Mr Johnson’s adviser on ministerial standards, resigned after the Prime Minister contradicted his advice by judging Ms Patel did not breach the rules despite being found to have bullied staff.
Sir Alex said the Home Secretary had not always treated civil servants with “consideration and respect” and he had concluded that her approach on occasions “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals”.
Ms Patel said she was “sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people”.
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