Labour is calling for the publication of the Cabinet Office report into allegations emerged that Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, had created a hostile and unprofessional work environment in the department by bullying at least three officials. It was reported at the time that a senior Home Office official collapsed after a heated argument with the Home Secretary, while she was able to transfer another senior official in the department to be moved from their job.
Patel was cleared of wrongdoing by a Cabinet Office inquiry in April. However, the investigation did not examine claims made by Sir Philip Rutnam, her former permanent secretary, who later used whistleblowing laws to take Patel to an employment tribunal for constructive dismissal. This inquiry was criticised at the time for being conducted in secret with no recourse for complaints, while the contents of the report have not yet been published.
Since the initial report, there has been an increased focus on allegations from what Patel was a minister at the Department for International Development and the Department for Work and Pensions. New allegations have also emerged about her time in the Home Office.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, and Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, have written to the Government for the third time calling for the report into whether broke Ministerial Code in relation to accusations of bullying to “be published immediately for it to be properly considered before recess begins”.
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:
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“It has been over four months since the Government promised a report into whether the Home Secretary broke the Ministerial Code. There are now allegations of deeply inappropriate political interference in the publication of the report, both in terms of content and timing. The delay in producing it is totally unacceptable.
“Yet again the Government is acting in the interests of a Conservative Party elite, rather than the national interest. I’ve written to the Minister for the Cabinet Office calling for the report be published immediately, so that it can be properly considered before the recess.”