• Monday, June 27, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Former civil service head says Johnson ‘needs to reflect and make a decision’ on Priti Patel bullying report

FILE PHOTO: British Home Secretary Priti Patel, July 30, 2020. Charlotte Graham/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

By: Pramod Thomas

A former head of the civil service has said that the Priti Patel bullying report is with the prime minister and Johnson ‘needs to reflect and make a decision’ on it.

Sir Mark Sedwill told MPs on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee that the prime minister had started consulting Sir Alex Allan, his independent adviser on ministers’ interests, about the fact-finding review by the time he left his post in September.

“I don’t know the exact date of when that part of the process was submitted to the PM, but it was under way, and it’s with him as I understand it now,” he said.

“The process was: establish the facts, have Alex Allan consider it, because the prime minister wanted his advice, and the prime minister needs to reflect and make a decision.”

He also suggested the full report might never be published, to protect the confidentiality of those interviewed as part of the inquiry.

A Cabinet Office inquiry was launched eight months ago when Sir Mark was cabinet secretary into the allegations home secretary Priti Patel bullied staff.

The probe was to investigate whether Patel had breached the ministerial code – the official rulebook for government ministers.

Labour has previously called for the report to be published ‘without further delay’.

A spokesman for the PM told the BBC that he was not yet ready to publish the findings as it is an ‘ongoing process’.

“Once we are in a position to make public the prime minister’s conclusions then we will do so, but we are not at that point yet,” said the PM’s official spokesman.

In February, Sir Philip Rutnam, the top civil servant in the Home Office, resigned, saying he had been the target of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign”.

Eastern Eye

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