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Johnson continues to defend Priti Patel over bullying claims

The Prime Minister said the allegations would be investigated and that he had told all Cabinet ministers he did not like bullying.

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Boris Johnson has defended Priti Patel amid claims of bullying (House of Commons/PA)

Boris Johnson has defended Priti Patel amid claims of bullying (House of Commons/PA)

Boris Johnson has defended Priti Patel amid claims of bullying (House of Commons/PA)

Boris Johnson has continued to defend Home Secretary Priti Patel amid allegations she had bullied staff in three government departments.

The Prime Minister said Ms Patel was doing an “outstanding job” in the face of a “lot of headwinds”.

But appearing on ITV’s This Morning, he said that he had warned all Cabinet ministers that he did not like bullying.

His comments came after the senior civil servant in the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, dramatically announced on Saturday that he was resigning, accusing Ms Patel of abusing staff in the department.

I have made it clear to all my friends in Cabinet that I don't like bullyingBoris Johnson

Following his departure, further claims emerged that she also bullied staff during her time as a minister in the Department for International Development and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mr Johnson, who defended Ms Patel in the Commons on Wednesday, said: “It goes without saying I don’t like bullying at all. We have got to investigate it. There is a proper Cabinet Office investigation.

“My instinct is very much to ‘stick with Prit’ as they say. She is doing an outstanding job facing a lot of headwinds.

“I have made it clear to all my friends in Cabinet that I don’t like bullying. But I think Priti is doing an outstanding job.”

The Prime Minister’s continued backing for the Home Secretary came as Labour again demanded an independent inquiry into the allegations.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has written to Ms Patel insisting such a probe would not cut across the Cabinet Office investigation.

Ms Abbott tweeted: “The Government can’t act as judge and jury in a case against one of their own ministers.”

In the letter, Ms Abbott states: “There can be do doubt you will agree that the allegation that you are in breach of the Ministerial Code is very serious indeed and it is in the interest of good governance that the truth is established as quickly as possible.

“An independent inquiry does not cut across or obstruct any investigation made by the Cabinet Office.”

PA