This is what happens – Boris Johnson – when senior members of the government delay important announcements: other people leak them and steal your thunder.
That can be the only reason for details of the Cabinet Office report on Priti Patel’s misbehaviour in three government departments to be released today – less than 24 hours after This Site suggested Johnson had no excuse to continue sitting on it now that he’s self-isolating and has more time to look into the matter.
Johnson still hasn’t done anything himself, so people around him have taken matters into their own hands.
They say the report – that was finalised all the way back in the summer, showed that
Priti Patel had broken rules on ministers’ behaviour.
It said she
had not met the requirements of the ministerial code to treat civil servants with consideration and respect.
And it said
the investigation had found evidence of bullying, even if it had not been intentional.
How do you bully someone unintentionally?
Under the Ministerial Code, a minister found to have broken its rules must resign.
So it’s “Toodle-pip Priti; don’t call us” – right?
Remember I said the report was finished in the summer? Johnson has had it since September and has done nothing. One of the BBC’s sources stated not only that
Priti Patel broke the ministerial code
the prime minister buried it.
Now he’s being pushed into doing something – it is being claimed that Johnson will make an announcement on Friday – it seems he is hoping to keep her in her job by changing the rules to allow different penalties.
The BBC’s report states:
Former Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill suggested there could be a “wider range of sanctions”, telling MPs: “I don’t think it should be binary between let off or sacked.”
And it seems Johnson wants to use this to get his crony off the hook:
The BBC understands there have been conversations in government this week about how to manage the situation, with suggestions that Ms Patel may be given a reprimand, or be asked to apologise, but keep her job.
Apparently we’ll find out the final decision on Friday but if it isn’t sufficiently punitive, I think many people will agree with Civil Service Union gen sec David Penman:
He described the system as not “fit for purpose”, adding: “We need an independent process that’s not relying upon a prime minister making a political judgement.”
As if that’s going to happen with Johnson in charge!
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