Allies of Priti Patel have claimed that the home secretary is ‘tough’ and ‘assertive’ but has ‘never crossed a line’.
In a letter to the Telegraph, more than 90 people including former Charity Commission chief William Shawcross and Conservative election guru Sir Lynton Crosby came to her defence.
They said she is “right to ask tough questions” of officials, adding: “We do not recognise the picture that has been painted of her this week.
“There’s no argument that she is a tough, assertive and effective leader, but even under extreme pressure she has never crossed a line or lost her temper.
“She expects high standards, as a strong leader should, but is always professional. She gives her all for this country and deserves far better treatment than she has received.”
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The signatories also include Tory peers Lords Rami, Suri and Leigh.
A Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations Priti Patel broke the ministerial code is under way.
Among the claims are that a senior official at the Department for International Development had reported a “tsunami” of allegations of abuse by officials in Patel’s private office when she was secretary of state, BBC Newsnight reported.
Those allegations came after a former aide at the Department for Work and Pensions was reported to have received a £25,000 payout from the government, having said she was bullied by Patel when she was employment minister.
A spokesman for Patel said: “The Home Secretary categorically denies all of these allegations.”