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Johnson defends Patel as report finds she broke ministerial code

Dominic Lipinski

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

Boris Johnson has judged the ministerial code was not breached by Priti Patel amid allegations of bullying despite an inquiry into her conduct finding she had “not consistently met the high standards expected of her”.

The Prime Minister’s adviser on Ministerial Standards, Sir Alex Allan, resigned in response to Mr Johnson’s decision to keep Ms Patel as Home Secretary.

A UK Government statement said Mr Johnson has “full confidence” in Ms Patel and “considers this matter now closed”.

Ms Patel apologised for upset caused by her behaviour, saying in a statement: “It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone.”

Normally ministers are expected to resign if they breach the code.

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

It followed the resignation of the Home Office’s permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam, who accused 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.