Friday 20 November 2020 / 6:00 AM Nick Thomas-Symonds

Labour urge standards watchdog to investigate Priti Patel bullying allegations 

Labour urge standards watchdog to investigate Priti Patel bullying allegations 

 

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, has written to the Independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, urging it to investigate the conduct of the Home Secretary and allegations that the Prime Minister interfered with the investigation into the issue.

 

Following recent revelations regarding the handling of the report, Labour has been clear that they no longer have faith in the Government’s ability to handle this issue and as a result asked the Chair of the Committee, Lord Evans, to investigate.

 

Commenting, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: 

 

“These are deeply serious revelations and have all the hallmarks of a cover up from the Prime Minister.

 

“We have lost faith in the Government’s ability to investigate this issue and are calling on the Committee to urgently investigate.  While both the Prime Minister and Home Secretary must come before Parliament to answer questions on this mess.”

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

 

Full text of letter

 

Dear Lord Evans,

 

I write in relation to the investigation into allegations that the Home Secretary breached the Ministerial Code, with particular concern around allegations of bullying.

 

You will have seen reports that the Home Secretary will receive a formal written warning from the Prime Minister regarding her conduct.  There have also been deeply worrying reports that there may have been attempts by Number 10 and the Prime Minister to suppress the report or interfere in this process.

 

Clearly the role of Home Secretary comes with huge levels of responsibility and trust, so it is absolutely vital that people are able to have full faith in the integrity of the Government on these vital issues.

 

As a result, it is unacceptable that there has been such a delay in action on this issue since the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster announced a review in the House of Commons on 2 March 2020.  Worse still, reports suggest that part of the reason for these delays have been the result of political efforts to alter the findings of the report, which would undermine the actions of the Cabinet Secretary and be seriously damaging to public trust.

 

It is increasingly worrying that the Government’s conduct on this issue falls short of the Seven Principles of Public Life, in particular: Integrity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership. We no longer have faith in the Government’s ability to handle this issue.

 

As a result, I am writing to request that the Committee on Standards in Public Life investigates this matter as a matter of urgency.

 

We are also calling on the Government to publish the full review without delay.  Failure to do so in our view amounts to suppression of a report, the publication of which has a clear public interest.

 

Bullying allegations in any workplace or arena are extraordinarily serious. It is also a particular concern that the Government should refuse to make these findings public during a pandemic when unprecedented powers have been concentrated in the hands of the Executive.

 

It is absolutely vital that this issue is addressed as a matter of urgency.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department