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Priti Patel has apologised after an official report found she breached the ministerial code and that her behaviour amounted to bullying. Boris Johnson has ruled that the Home Secretary did not break the ministerial code. Labour’s Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell expressed her fury at the Prime Minister’s refusal to sack Ms Patel, but was grilled by Sky’s Sophy Ridge regarding her own party’s failings.
Ms Powell said: “I think her position’s complete untenable absolutely.
“She’s been found by an independent inquiry of breaking the ministerial code.
“I think if you are breaking the ministerial code, your position is complete untenable.
“I think it’s appalling that the Prime Minister has decided to back her instead of sacking her. That’s what he should have done.”
Ms Ridge shot back: “Last year Luciana Berger left the Labour Party because of what she described as a culture of ‘bullying, bigotry and intimidation’.
“Tom Watson said that she was bullied out of her own party by racist thugs. So is Labour only tough on bullying when it’s the Conservatives?”
Ms Powell told Sky: “Not at all, I think bullying doesn’t know party political lines. I think we can all be found wanting when that comes. Certainly the behaviour that Luciana was subject to was appalling, it was gross, it was grotesque.
“That’s why Keir Starmer’s been very clear that rooting out anti-Semitism, and taking a tough line on those who are anti-Semitic, or those who are acting in a bullying way, won’t have a place in the Labour Party.”
She added: “He’s very clear that he would have sacked Priti Patel or any other Labour MP who was found wanting in that way.
“So it’s not that bullying can’t exist in all party political parties, of course it can, and it does, believe me, it does.
“It’s how you deal with it, how you tackle it, and it’s whether you show the leadership and the tough decisions that you need to take to root it out.”
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Sir Alex Allan, the senior civil servant that looked into the Home Secretary’s behaviour, has now resigned over the situation.
He had advised in his report that her approach to her civil servants had amounted to behaviour that “can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals”.
The Prime Minister noted that the Home Secretary was unaware of her impact and considered that the ministerial code was not breached.
Ms Patel has said that she is “sorry that [her] behaviour in the past has upset people”.
In his resignation statement, Sir Alex Allan wrote: “I recognise that it is for the Prime Minister to make a judgement on whether actions by a minister amount to a breach of the ministerial code, but I feel that it is right that I should now resign from my position as the Prime Minister’s independent adviser on the code.”
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