UK PM says he backs interior minister after inquiry into her conduct

News and Info from Deeside Flintshire North Wales

He said he was not asked to contribute to the inquiry, which found she broke the ministerial code but was "unaware" about the impact of her conduct.

An independent investigation, commissioned by the Cabinet Office after former Home Office permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam resigned from his post alleging that Patel had "created fear" within the department, is reported to have found that she "had not met the requirements of the ministerial code to treat civil servants with consideration and respect". He "considers this matter now closed, according to a Government statement".

Mr Johnson, who is the ultimate arbiter of the ministerial code, judged that Ms Patel did not breach the rules and continues to have "full confidence in her".

"I am sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people".

"If I were prime minister, the home secretary would have been removed from her job".

Ms Patel was accused of demeaning her staff by shouting and swearing at them, which resulted in Mr Johnson launching an inquiry in March.

Priti Patel has always rejected accusations of bullying. "She is delivering the first duty of government, protection of the British people".

Instead, the Prime Minister is expected to release an assessment of its findings by his adviser on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allan.

Ms Patel will remain home secretary, despite breaking the ministerial code.

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"This has all the hallmarks of a cover-up from the Prime Minister and raises fundamental questions about his judgment".

"He loathes bullying. He takes it very seriously".

The chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord Evans of Weardale, said Sir Alex's resignation was "deeply concerning" and that his committee would look "urgently" at what had happened as part of its review of the ministerial code.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA senior civil servants' union, told the BBC that civil servants would be asking what message it would send if the government said Patel did not have to resign.

"In my extensive dealings with Priti Patel she's been nothing but courteous and kind", Health Minister Matt Hancock, who said he had not read the report, told Sky News, echoing other messages of support on Twitter.

A government statement said it had been "clear from Sir Alex's advice that at times there have been hard working relationships all round" at the Home Office.

He said: "Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals".

Sir Philip Rutnam quit as permanent secretary at the Home Office in February, after complaining about Ms Patel's conduct, and is now suing the government for unfair dismissal.

Ms Patel has expressed concern at the "false" claims, and allies have described her as a "demanding" boss but not a bully. "It is now vital that the full report is published without delay, so the public can have full confidence in the decision-making process".

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