Boris Johnson has been swiftly condemned after failing to dismiss Priti Patel over allegations of bullying staff were proven to be true.
Politicians and public figures have come out to criticise the prime minister over failing to dismiss Patel after it was proven she had broken the ministerial code of conduct in her treatment of staff.
Johnson’s adviser on standards has resigned after the prime minister came out in support of Patel when he claimed she did not break the code.
In a statement, Sir Alex Allan said: “I recognise that it is for the prime minister to make a judgment on whether actions by a minister amount to a breach of the ministerial code.
“But I feel that it is right that I should now resign from my position as the prime minister’s independent adviser on the code.”
Reacting to the news, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Yet again, the prime minister has been found wanting when his leadership has been tested. If I were prime minister, the home secretary would have been removed from her job.
“It is hard to imagine another workplace in the UK where this behaviour would be condoned by those at the top.
“The government should be setting an example. Instead, it is one rule for Boris Johnson and his friends, another for everyone else.”
He added: “The prime minister has previously said he ‘loathes bullying’. Yet when one of his own ministers is found to have bullied their staff he ignores the damning report sat on his desk and instead protects them.
“In the interest of transparency, the report into Priti Patel’s conduct and any drafts should now be fully published and the prime minister and home secretary should come to the House on Monday to face questions on their conduct.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: “Priti Patel has broken the Ministerial Code, the PM should have sacked her.
“It’s the PM’s job to set an example, but once again Johnson has failed. He seems to believe there is one rule for him and his friends and another rule for everyone else. Totally unacceptable.”
Labour’ David Lammy echoed his Sir Keir’s comment, tweeting: “Boris Johnson condoning bullying by keeping @pritipatel in post despite his advisor’s resignation is another spineless, hypocritical and pathetic failure of leadership.
“Once again it’s one rule for the @Conservatives and another for everyone else.”
FDA civil servant’s union’s general secretary Dave Penman said the decision would have repercussions for the civil servants.
He said: “What is the point of the ministerial code then? What’s the point of investigation? If actually what we’re saying is that what evidence is found… if it’s politically convenient for the prime minister to ignore it, he will ignore it.”
He added: “The prime minister in his foreword to the ministerial code said there would be no bullying and no harassment. He didn’t mean it. Those words are hollow now.
“What kind of message does it send – not just to civil servants in the Home Office – but also across the civil service? If you want to raise a complaint against the minister about their behaviour, the outcome of that will depend on the politics that happening at the time. That’s the clear message to the civil servants from the prime minister.”
Patel has since apologised for upset caused by her behaviour, saying in a statement: “It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone.”