Boris Johnson 'has had Priti Patel bullying report for months

Boris Johnson ‘has had Priti Patel bullying report for months’ says ex-Civil Service chief Mark Sedwill amid fury at Downing Street’s ongoing failure to publish it

  • Lord Sedwill told MPs review had been passed to the Prime Minister when he left 
  • He stepped down as Cabinet Secretary in September this year and is now a peer
  • A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March – eight months ago 
  • Patel has expressed concern at the ‘false’ claims that she was a bully

A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March – eight months ago – over allegations that Ms Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments.

Boris Johnson has been sitting on a report into allegations of bullying by Home Secretary Priti Patel for months, the former head of the Civil Service revealed today. 

Lord Mark Sedwill told MPs that the review into claims that the senior Cabinet minister abused staff in her department was ‘underway’ when he left his role in September and had been passed to the Prime Minister.

A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March – eight months ago – over allegations that Ms Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments. 

Sir Philip Rutnam, who was the Home Office’s permanent secretary, quit earlier this year, accusing Ms Patel of a ‘vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign’ against him and is claiming constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.

Ms Patel has expressed concern at the ‘false’ claims, and allies have described her as a ‘demanding’ boss but not a bully.

But despite daily questions to Downing Street, but the result of the probe has yet to be revealed. 

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, which represents many civil servants, said: ‘When (Michael) Gove announced the inquiry to Parliament in March, he said he wanted to ensure that ”no justice is delayed and no justice is denied”. Looks like the PM didn’t get the memo.’

Lord Mark Sedwill told MPs that the review into claims that the senior Cabinet minister abused staff in her department was ‘underway’ when he left his role in September and had been passed to the Prime Minister

Sir Philip Rutnam, who was the Home Office’s permanent secretary, quit earlier this year, accusing Ms Patel of a ‘vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign’ against him and is claiming constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal

Appearing in front of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee today, Lord Sedwill said He said: ‘I couldn’t tell you exactly, but the Cabinet Office, the proprietary and ethics team under me, were asked to establish the facts.

‘The Prime Minister then consults his independent adviser on ministerial interests Alex Allan.

‘And that process was certainly under way – it hadn’t concluded by the time I left, it was certainly under way.

‘I think Alex had been in discussions with the Prime Minister, I don’t know the exact date of when that part of the process was submitted to the PM but it was under way, it was with him, as I understand it.’ 

Lord Sedwill suggested the full report might never be published as some interviews took place on the premise that they were ‘in confidence’ and the people concerned did ‘not want their remarks to be completely on-the-record’.

‘It is a decision in the end for the PM whether he publishes anything,’ he added.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman, when asked about Lord Sedwill’s remarks, told reporters: ‘It is an ongoing process.

‘Once we are in a position to make public the Prime Minister’s conclusions we will do so but we are not yet at that point.’

Downing Street has said on a regular basis that the review process was continuing amid calls to publish the findings.

Cabinet Office Minister Lord True, responding to questions on the slow progress of the inquiry in the House of Lords earlier this month, said: ‘The Prime Minister will make any decision on the matter public once the process has concluded.’

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