Tag Archives: Alex

#MattHancock is talking himself into a corner over his friend’s #Covid19 #contract

Matt Hancock and Alex Bourne: nothing to see here, according to the former Health Secretary.

I agree with Matt Thomas about this:

But to his words I would also add that misleading Parliament about such a contract should also carry an automatic penalty: expulsion.

It seems clear that Matt Hancock arranged a preferential deal for a Covid-19 contract with a company that acted as a ‘front’ for Alex Bourne, who used to run a pub close to Hancock’s constituency home in Suffolk.

Bourne has said he offered to supply the government with vials for Covid-19 tests via a WhatsApp message to Hancock. He ended up with a £40 million contract, despite having had no previous experience of providing medical supplies.

The contract was provided to a supplier already approved by the NHS – Alpha Pharmaceuticals, who then sub-contracted the work in its entirety to Bourne’s company Hinpack – apparently because Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care had demanded it.

Hancock told Parliament that any suggestion Bourne’s firm had been favoured because of his connection with the then-Health Secretary was a smear (as it implies corruption). He said: “I have heard this point about this pub landlord and I just want to tell her and the House, and put it formally on the record, and after this I hope the Labour party will also stop this slur, that the man in question never got nor applied for a contract from the government or the NHS at all. It is a fabrication pushed by the Labour party. It’s a load of rubbish.”

He added: “Of course, the Department of Health and the NHS does not have a say in sub-contracting arrangements.”

But the government did know that the work was being sub-contracted to Hancock’s company because it was written into Alpha’s contract. We have no reason to believe that Alpha, which is based in Harrow, Middlesex, had any knowledge of Hinpack prior to the awarding of this contract.

It seems clear that the contract was constructed carefully in order to put distance between Hancock and his acquaintance, although information has emerged proving that Hancock, as Health Secretary, had personally referred Bourne on to a government official.

His claim that he did not corruptly arrange for Bourne to get the work has been rubbished by Labour figures – to his face on Robert Peston’s ITV show when he clashed with Jess Phillips:

She’s wrong about a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them.

When the details of the sub-contract came out, Labour’s Annaliese Dodds demanded that Hancock return to Parliament to set the record straight:

He did respond, as follows: “This point of order and the point made in it demonstrates very clearly that there was no contract between the firm being discussed and the department or the NHS.

“So what this has done is demonstrated finally and for the record that there was no such contract between my constituent and the department or NHS. No matter how hard they look or how deep they dig, all that will be discovered is a lot of people working hard to save lives. That’s what was going on.”

That seems like bullshit to me.

Hancock recommended Bourne to a government official after having been contacted by Bourne.

He was responsible for awarding contracts.

A contract went to a company that then immediately passed on the work to Hancock’s friend, apparently because Hancock demanded it:

And, think about it: if you wanted to give plausible deniability to a corruptly-awarded contract, wouldn’t you do it by ensuring that it was a sub-contract that you could then say had nothing to do with you?

This Writer thinks Hancock’s story stinks – and I am looking forward to new information that the Good Law Project, which has been investigating the case, may turn up.

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The Castex letter DIDN’T say the UK should be punished. Kuenssberg was WRONG

Laura Kuenssberg: by publicising an apparent mistranslation of a letter by the French Prime Minister, she has caused a major international political row. Can she even read French?

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, misrepresented a letter on the UK/EU fishing row by French Prime Minister Jean Castex – apparently to stoke international tensions on the eve of the G20 and COP26 summits.

The UK and France are sabre-rattling over rights to fish in each other’s waters, after the UK prohibited some French trawlers over a technicality.

Kuenssberg aggravated the row by publicising a letter from Castex to European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, claiming it said the EU needed to demonstrate that there was “more damage to leaving the EU than remaining there”.

This is based on a translation publicised by Alex Wickham of Politico. In tweets, he claimed the letter said:

“It is indispensable to demonstrate to European public opinion that more damage is suffered by leaving the EU than by remaining.”

The implication is that the EU should actively punish the UK.

An alternative translation by Edwin Hayward states the following:

“The UK’s uncooperative stance today threatens to cause great harm not only to fishermen, especially the French, but also to them [European] Union as it sets a precedent for the future and challenges our credibility and our ability to enforce our rights in relation to the international commitments signed by the union.

“It therefore seems necessary for the European Union to show its full determination to achieve full respect for the Agreement by the United Kingdom and to exercise its rights in a firm, cohesive and proportionate manner using the levers at its disposal.

“It is important to make it clear to European public opinion that respect for commitment is non-negotiable and that leaving the union does more harm than staying there.

“If a satisfactory solution is not found in this context, the European Union must apply Article 506 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and take corrective measures proportionate to the economic and social damage that [violations] will cause.”

That makes it a little different, once it’s put into context!

As Hayward states in his own article,

It should be immediately clear from the above text that there is no active intent to punish the UK. All the French want to do is to highlight the problems that Brexit has been causing — they are not trying to inflict new ones on us.

And people know:

(He means “…can’t be as advantageous as being IN” of course.)

Robert Peston said in his tweet that Boris Johnson has swallowed the Wickham translation and is “visibly angry” about the letter. But is he?

If Johnson is as well-educated as he’s supposed to be (Eton and Oxford) then it is entirely possible that he can read French for himself and knows exactly what the letter said. If so, then he is simply trying to manipulate a situation created by reporters (who probably can’t – with apologies to Kuenssberg and Peston if they turn out to be fluent, but that just implies that they know they’re peddling falsehoods and don’t care either).

This Writer, as a journalist and editor of nearly 28 years’ standing, agrees with Marcus Chown, below:

Indeed. Or indeed any journalist-training organisation such as the one that taught me (the National Council for the Training of Journalists). Where did Peston and Kuenssberg get their qualifications?

Actually, let’s check.

Kuenssberg, it seems, has no qualification as a journalist. She studied History at the University of Edinburgh, then spent a year studying (but the subject is not clarified) at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she interned at the NBC News political programme. Returning to the UK, she eventually joined the BBC as a trainee journalist – but that doesn’t mean she was doing any training. ‘Trainee’ is just the name applied to a working reporter who hasn’t passed the test to become a Senior Reporter. If she was trained in the States, it was in an American standard of reporting.

Peston’s degree at Oxford was Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He then studied at the Université libre de Bruxelles – but again, it’s not clear what the subject was. He entered journalism via another back door, writing for the Investors Chronicle after being a stockbroker.

Those details aren’t very reassuring!

But it shouldn’t be up to the Kuenssbergs, Pestons, or even the Johnsons of this world to sort out this row. It’s a matter for the French.

All Jean Castex has to do is come out and read the relevant part of his letter, along with a translation into English saying exactly what he intended it to say.

That should end any ambiguity. How about it?

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Tory MP who went maskless in Parliament has tested positive for Covid-19

Maskless: who knows how many of his fellow Conservative MPs Alex Chalk (or whoever infected him) has infected with Covid-19?

What did Jacob Rees-Mogg say about Tory MPs not needing masks, again?

Ah yes, that’s right: they didn’t need to wear masks because they all know each other.

And now Rees-Mogg’s colleague Alex Chalk – after displaying the “convivial, fraternal spirit” that the Leader of the House so eloquently promoted – is self-isolating, having tested positive for Covid-19:

The question now is: how many other Tory MPs have picked up the virus as a result of their “convivial, fraternal” masklessness at Prime Minister’s Questions last Wednesday (October 20)?

Indeed, considering the information in the tweets below, how many have even bothered to take a test?

Here are a few facts that are more accurate than Rees-Mogg’s dangerous claims – and these come from a doctor:

TV news interviewers take note: if you’re set to interview a Conservative MP who was in the Commons on that day (or maskless at any time before or after) then you will be at risk. Wear a mask yourself and demand strict social distancing.

That goes for anybody else who is likely to come into contact with a Conservative MP.

They may be happy to take moronic risks but that doesn’t mean you have to.

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Starmer’s shifting story on Corbyn suspension shows he may be a worse liar than Johnson

Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn: Starmer was already lined up to stab Mr Corbyn in the back, even in this image.

Labour leader Keir Starmer is in a pickle, and no mistake! His own words are making him as big a liar as Boris Johnson.

But while Johnson is attempting to break with his government’s recent past by cutting loose some of the most offensive people in his former Cabinet and promoting those he thinks play well with the public, Starmer remains mired in the results of his own actions.

The latest revelations about his shocking mistreatment of former party leader Jeremy Corbyn should sink him altogether. Perhaps it is only the support of a true-blue Tory media, that knows Starmer is the best thing that could have happened to Johnson, that keeps the public from turning on him.

The Labour leader currently stands accused of lying about the way Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from party members – unilaterally, by Starmer, in breach of an agreement he had made with the Equality and Human Rights Commission that very day.

He is also said to have broken an agreement he made to bring Corbyn back into the party on publication of a “clarification” statement by the former leader.

Former Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey explained in a Guardian article a few days ago [boldings mine]:

Labour briefed journalists that Starmer hadn’t personally suspended Corbyn; the party’s general secretary, David Evans, had. This mattered because one of the EHRC’s main lessons was that there must be no political interference in disciplinary cases – that such interference could be unlawful. Starmer was careful to tell the BBC Today programme the following morning: “Appropriate action was taken yesterday by the general secretary in suspending Jeremy Corbyn.”

But that’s not what he told me on the phone. His words were: “He put me in an impossible position and I had no choice.”

The EHRC had made it clear in its report that party representatives like Starmer should not involve themselves in disciplinary matters in any way, as it may appear that they were acting for political reasons. And isn’t this precisely what Starmer was doing, on the very day he had promised to abide by the organisation’s recommendations?

Corbyn had been clear that “anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour party is wrong” and that “one antisemite is one too many”, but he had also said that the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated” by opponents and the media. Corbyn sought to substantiate his claim in a broadcast interview, pointing to polling that suggested a vast gap between the perception of the extent of antisemitism in the party (the public thought complaints had been made against a third of members) and what the former leader said was “the reality” that 0.3% of members had actually been subject to disciplinary investigations.

As a victim of false allegations by the Labour Party who has had to do some research on this, I can confirm that Mr Corbyn’s figures were correct. My opinion is that this disparity had been stoked by Labour MPs who had falsely claimed that the party was “institutionally anti-Semitic” (this claim was firmly squashed by the EHRC) but Starmer has taken no action against the individuals concerned, who have clearly dragged Labour into disrepute. Does he have another agenda, perhaps?

Starmer, in his speech, had said that anyone saying antisemitism was “all exaggerated” was part of the problem. Corbyn, of course, hadn’t said it was all exaggerated, but Starmer now raised the bar. He told me on the phone that Corbyn had deliberately undermined him. “It’s as if he’s gone out of his way to contradict that line in my speech,” he said. “I’m beyond angry with Jeremy.”

Here’s a classic tactic of the false anti-Semitism campaign being used by Starmer himself. He said that Mr Corbyn had undermined his statement that anyone saying anti-Semitism in Labour was “all exaggerated” was part of the problem. But Mr Corbyn had not said that, and it is a lie to imply that he did. He had said the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated” by opponents and the media – and provided evidence to support the statement.

Starmer’s false claim was an attempt to make us believe a lie. How sad that nobody in the media at the time was even interested in questioning that claim, but took it at face value and published it to the masses!

The following afternoon, Jon Trickett MP and I went to parliament for a meeting with Starmer, his chief of staff Morgan McSweeney, and deputy leader Angela Rayner. Rayner began by requesting our discussion be confidential. Given what happened subsequently, I no longer feel bound by that.

Damned by her own words. Did Rayner know that Starmer and Evans were already planning to renege on any deal mapped out between their new leadership and representatives of Mr Corbyn?

Trickett and Starmer’s senior adviser Simon Fletcher had worked up a draft statement. I joined a conference call with McSweeney. I said: “As far as we are concerned it is our expectation that if Jeremy agrees to the statement then that is the end of the matter and the suspension will be lifted, after due process, and Jeremy will be back to normal.”

McSweeney’s response was: “Yes, that is our expectation, also.”

“And you speak on behalf of Keir?” I asked.

“Yes,” came his reply.

That was the deal for Corbyn’s reinstatement. A month and a half later, in response to questions from Sky News journalist Tom Rayner, Starmer’s spokesperson would say: “There was no deal on reinstatement, no.”

A bald lie, it seems.

When pressed on whether senior Labour staff had advance sight of Corbyn’s statement (which they had in fact co-written), the spokesperson would respond: “We are not going to comment on private conversations.”

That’s a classic line when people don’t want to admit a fact, of course. Again, damning.

And because Starmer, Rayner, Evans, McSweeney and whoever else was in negotiations on Labour’s side have (allegedly) reneged on their agreement, Mr McCluskey is submitting his observations on those negotiations to be used in Mr Corbyn’s court challenge against Labour’s (then-subsequent) withdrawal of the party whip from him:

The formalities around Corbyn’s readmission were handled by a panel of Labour’s national executive committee, which met on 17 November. Corbyn published the agreed statement that morning. “To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated,’” read the key passage. “The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour party members were and remain committed antiracists deeply opposed to antisemitism.”

I was – as were many others who had been wrongly accused, I’m sure – bitterly disappointed by this statement from Mr Corbyn, which denied what had happened to us. Was it really “neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated'” when a Labour party officer leaked details of the party’s proceedings against me to The Sunday Times, which then published an entirely untrue claim that I was a Holocaust denier? (The newspaper published a lengthy correction a year later, after a lengthy investigation by newspaper watchdog IPSO.)

The vast majority of those who have been accused of anti-Semitism and expelled because of it are also committed anti-racists, falsely accused by the party they supported and trusted, with claims that certainly were ‘exaggerated’ and ‘overstated’. But I digress.

After Mr Corbyn made his statement and Starmer reinstated him into the Labour Party, the usual suspects piped up to cause trouble:

Margaret Hodge tweeted that it was “a broken outcome from a broken system”. The Jewish Labour Movement blamed a “factionally aligned political committee”.

Well, they would. Both have made it clear, over many years, that they have no interest in the well-being of the Labour Party but are they to undermine it, every chance they get. But Starmer never seems to understand that or act to counter it. Odd, that, don’t you think?

Instead…

it soon became clear he was going to crumble. It was reported he was given an ultimatum by Hodge: she would resign from the party if Corbyn remained a Labour MP.

Good riddance if she had! She should have been booted out years ago.

Starmer reneged on our deal. He withdrew the Labour whip from Corbyn, leaving him in the absurd situation of being an MP and a Labour member, but not a Labour MP. At no time in my discussions had this eventuality been mentioned. The objective of both sides had been to bring matters back to normal.

Corbyn was now told that if he wanted the whip restored he would have to make an apology – which prompted the question: if an apology was so important to the leadership, why didn’t they include one in the statement they co-wrote?

Shifting sands. The evidence suggests that Starmer wasn’t interested in justice; he just wanted an outcome that made him look good. And this shows his political naivete – he was never going to get it. In the anti-Semitism row, the Labour leadership is caught between members who know they are innocent and will fight for it, and activisits both inside and outside the party who know that merely making accusations will cause disruption and disarray in an organisation they hate.

I’m a trade unionist. The one thing you never do is renege on a deal you’ve negotiated… That was when I lost my personal relationship with Starmer. I could no longer trust him. He was not a man of his word.

If this was an isolated example perhaps it could be dismissed. But it increasingly looks like a pattern that extends to policy as well as politics.

Len McCluskey’s article is bad enough for Starmer.

But journalist Alex Nunns has gone further – simply by analysing the Labour leadership’s response and finding that it cannot deny any of the statements of fact.

Instead, Starmer’s office has tried to add new elements to the story, that support him. But in doing so, they undermine his claim that there had been no deal and support Mr McCluskey’s assertion that Starmer lied.

See for yourself:

This is an important point: nobody can trust Starmer or the group within Labour that he leads. Those of us who have fought anti-Semitism accusations know that this is true; if you are accused, your innocence does not matter. It means powerful people in the party want you out and they believe they can smear you with impunity to do it.

Crucially, it seems Starmer – the lawyer – has put himself in a position where he may have perjured himself in court proceedings:

My guess is that, although he has painted himself into a corner, Starmer will try to worm his way out of it on a technicality.

But the British people don’t care about technicalities. They care about how their leaders present themselves.

And Starmer presents himself as a shifty, untrustworthy liar – and certainly not the kind of person we can support into leadership of the UK. If this is how he mistreats Labour members, how badly will he mistreat the rest of us if he gets the chance?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Elections 2021: Labour’s gutlessness and treachery is all-too clear in this tale of two representatives

Alex Sobel: he’s just the latest in a long line of Labour members to be stabbed in the back by Keir Starmer.

It seems Keir Starmer’s Parliamentary Labour Party will leave no depth unplumbed in its relentless quest to alienate the whole UK electorate.

The latest travesty is the case of Shadow Tourism Minister Alex Sobel, who said in a podcast that, after being initially unwilling to talk with big businesses, he had swallowed his prejudices and started dialogues over climate change.

He went on to say that several of the companies he has met have “seen the way the wind is blowing” on climate, and “the private sector is ahead of the UK government”.

Then The Sun got hold of the story and twisted his words, claiming that he said businesspeople are “the enemy” now. This is the opposite of what he was saying; he actually stated that the private sector was advanced in its thinking and it is the government that is holding progress back.

And then Keir Starmer and his Labour leadership stepped in with their enormous jackboots and well and truly messed matters up.

It seems Starmer demanded an apology from Sobel. Then he went to the press and came out with this blood-curdling claptrap:

“Under my leadership, I’ve been very, very clear that the Labour party is pro-business,” Starmer said. “We’re more than pro-business, we want a partnership with business.”

He added: “Alex Sobel knows what he said was wrong. He has apologised. He’s apologised to me. The Labour party, under my leadership, is very clearly pro-business. We want a partnership with business. And Alex Sobel understands that.”

Labour says no pressure was put on Sobel, but This Writer can’t see any way he would have apologised otherwise; he had no reason to.

It is, however, very much “in character” for a Labour leadership that would apologise to its own shadow (if it ever stepped out of the shadows long enough to see one).

The obvious howler is the anti-Semitism “crisis” that Starmer spent months whipping up again after it had gone quiet.

Rather than stand up for his MPs, candidates and members who have been falsely accused, he persecuted them wholesale, while apologising to the world for them every having been allowed into the party.

Not a scrap of evidence ever seemed to be on display.

Contrast this with the way the Tories react when one of theirs is criticised… Priti Patel, for example.

Among her many transgressions is the way she shattered the Ministerial Code by bullying civil servants, not only at the Home Office but in the Departments for Work and Pensions and of International Development.

She should have been forced to resign. That is the rule. But Boris Johnson stuck by her and demanded that she had done nothing wrong and must keep her job.

So she did.

See the difference? Labour apologises and punishes its own at the slightest opportunity; the Tories stick together (until they start falling in the polls, of course, but that’s another story).

Smart minds in the Labour Party have spotted this and are making the only choice available to them.

So let us applaud James Osben, twice Labour’s general election candidate in Newton Abbot, who has not only resigned his membership but issued an open letter to Keir Starmer, explaining his reasons in no uncertain terms.

Here are some of the highlights:

“I am saddened, deeply disappointed and extremely troubled by the Labour Party’s current behaviour and actions in suspending hundreds of members from multiple CLPs.

“I stood as the Parliamentary Candidate in Newton Abbot in 2017 and 2019. Labour came second for the first time ever in this constituency in 2017… I and my friends and colleagues within the Party felt proud of what we achieved and we had hope, like never before, of achieving so much more for our local community.

“Any hope of this being achieved via the Labour party is now gone. You have suspended most of the Newton Abbot CLP officers and many have already resigned.

“Like my friends I will continue with community projects, supporting people who need help but I can no longer do this under the Labour banner when the Labour Party is failing to represent these people.

“I no longer feel that the Labour Party is representing me and the millions of people who need a government that is on their side.

“For the first time ever, I have felt uncomfortable, unsafe and unrepresented in the Labour Party. Why is this? My values have not changed nor have my principles. As Tony Benn once said, we should be signposts and not weathercocks. What has changed within the Labour Party?

“Why are members feeling unsafe, intimidated and fearful? Why does there appear to be a disturbing clampdown on democracy and free speech within the party?

“Thousands of members have resigned. You have suspended hundreds more. What is your aim? What is your purpose? What are your objectives?

“The Labour Party in Newton Abbot has now been severely crippled in the run-up to the May 2021 elections because of the actions of Keir Starmer and David Evans.

“Is it your aim to ensure a Labour Government isn’t elected in 2024? It certainly seems so.”

It’s a long letter and you can read it in full over on Skwawkbox.

This Writer can do nothing but endorse the sentiments Mr Osben expresses. They mirror many of my own feelings; long-term readers will know that I often refer to Tony Benn’s signposts and weathercocks comparison.

He also makes good points about the psychological harm being done to Labour Party members by Starmer’s totalitarian leadership.

Put this together with the treatment of Alex Sobel and we see a Labour Party that won’t even stand up for its own MPs and candidates.

And, in the run-up to the local elections in May, there is no reason to believe that Labour will stand up for any voters either.

Source: Labour MP apologises for saying he once saw business as ‘the enemy’ | Labour | The Guardian

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High Court urged to overturn Johnson’s decision to overlook Priti Patel’s bullying

Do you ever wonder whether High Court judges get frustrated that any serious work they do is delayed by the misdeeds of government ministers (not to mention the bleatings of sensitive celebs – but that’s another matter)?

Civil service union the FDA is demanding a judicial review of Boris Johnson’s decision not to sack Priti Patel for breaking the Ministerial Code by bullying officers at the Home Office, Department for International Development and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Johnson rejected the findings of a report by Alex Allan that found Patel was guilty of bullying civil servants while a minister in three government departments.

He defiantly backed her to continue as Home Secretary when, according to the rules, she should have been sacked – and said he had “full confidence” in her.

The decision provoke Allan to resign as government adviser on ministerial standards last November, immediately after the prime minister announced his decision.

It also emerged that Johnson had spent considerable effort trying to rally support for Patel among other ministers. This became even more questionable when it was revealed that Patel’s loathsome behaviour appeared to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide.

Now the FDA is taking the matter to the courts – and about time too:

In a written submission, general secretary Dave Penman told the High Court that “civil servants should expect to work with ministers without fear of being bullied or harassed”.

Mr Johnson’s actions had “fundamentally undermined” the disciplinary process, he added, and the prime minister had “misinterpreted” the definition of bullying in the Ministerial Code.

Mr Penman said there was “bewilderment, dismay and anger among our membership” and there had been “serious detrimental effects to workplace relations and confidence in the process for dealing with complaints against ministers”.

He added that, if Mr Johnson’s decision was not “corrected” by the court, “his interpretation of the Ministerial Code will result in that document failing to protect workplace standards across government”.

This is a row that has been simmering for a year – since the resignation of Sir Philip Rutnam as Home Office permanent secretary in February 2020.

He said he had been the target of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” ringled by Patel.

And he is pursuing an employment tribunal claim for constructive dismissal.

This action can only be strengthened if the High Court supports the FDA’s application.

Source: High Court urged to overturn PM’s decision to stand by Priti Patel – BBC News

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Web of lies around Priti Patel bullying report: why is she protected if she pushes people to suicide?

I don’t like it when people in my government lie to me.

I have a feeling I share that opinion with many people.

Priti Patel seized on the part of Alex Allan’s report into bullying allegations against her, that said she had not been warned that her behaviour towards civil service employees exceeded the bounds of acceptability.

But it seems that this was because Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip Rutnam, the former Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, who is suing the government for constructive dismissal.

According to The Guardian,

sources say Allan was informed he could not interview Rutnam because of the legal action. Allan, however, felt that his inquiry was being denied potentially crucial evidence.

Rutnam… said she was clearly advised not to shout and swear at staff the month after her appointment in 2019 and that he told her to treat staff with respect “on further occasions”.

The indication that Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip suggests that his claim is correct. Priti Patel – as the person who was given the advice – would therefore have known she had it.

So it seems she lied, in order to make herself look better. That in itself is despicable.

Worse still, we hear that the prime minister – Boris Johnson – himself asked for the report on Patel to be “palatable”. Doesn’t this suggest that he didn’t want the facts – just something he could use to deflect criticism?

Is it any wonder that Sir Alex resigned after Johnson ignored even the findings of his report as it eventually appeared?

Finally, there is the odious spectacle of Tory MPs and ministers rallying to support Patel – a colleague whose loathsome behaviour appears to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide:

Mr Khan attempted to endorse it because his boss told him to help “form a square around the Prittster”.

So now we have an increasing number of Conservative MPs – and, presumably, other Tories – trying to deceive us all into accepting that there’s no reason for Priti Patel to be removed from office.

It seems one bad apple really can spoil the whole barrel. Or were they already spoiled and this episode just showed us the extent of it?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘asked for Patel report to be palatable’, source claims – BBC News

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Slap in the face for civil service as Boris Johnson endorses Priti Patel’s bullying

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson: you’re probably sick of this image but I’ve now associated it firmly with the ongoing Patel bullying story. She and Johnson appear to be very firm buddies and he has joined demonstrated that he is happy to trash the ministerial code to keep her in his government.

Alex Allan was right to resign after Boris Johnson metaphorically spat in his face – and in the faces of every civil servant who has ever been abused by an ignorant, self-important MP.

The report on bullying allegations by the now-former government adviser on ministerial standards stated clearly that Priti Patel was guilty of bullying civil servants while a minister in three government departments.

Under current Parliamentary rules, this means she has broken the ministerial code and must resign.

But Johnson has abused his position as prime minister – and therefore the ultimate judge of whether the code has been broken or not. In the face of the evidence, he has ruled that she did not break the code and may continue as Home Secretary.

Standards chief Sir Alex Allan found that Ms Patel had broken the code governing ministers’ behaviour.

But the PM rejected his findings, saying he did not think Ms Patel was a bully and had “full confidence” in her.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that Johnson rejected the report. It seems he had been trying to rally support for Patel, on the quiet, for some time:

It … emerged that he had urged Tory MPs, in a WhatsApp message, to “form a square around the Prittster”.

That approach seems to have worked in the case of Tory nodding dog Matt Hancock – who of course says anything he’s told to say:

Another block in the “wall around the Prittster was Dehenna Davison, who the people of Bishop Auckland – in a moment of madness – seem to have elected as their first Conservative MP.

Her tweet is nothing but whataboutery and she deserved the put-down she received:

Mention of John Bercow puts the seal on the matter, as far as the reliability of her fellow MPs’ comments goes:

And there’s a big difference between allegations about Bercow and those about Patel:

Patel herself has seized on part of the Allan report that said “no feedback was given to the home secretary of the impact of her behaviour, which meant she was unaware of issues that she could otherwise have addressed”.

She has apologised for upsetting people in any way, saying it was “completely unintentional”.

It makes a nice story.

But Sir Philip Rutnam, who resigned as Permanent Secretary to the Home Office earlier this year, said the report was inaccurate on this point and that

Patel was advised not to “swear and shout” at staff last year.

In a statement issued by the FDA union, Sir Philip said: “I have a high regard for Sir Alex Allan and regret his resignation, but I was at no stage asked to contribute evidence to the Cabinet Office investigation which gave rise to his advice to the Prime Minister.

“The advice states that no feedback was given to the Home Secretary and that she was therefore unaware of issues that she might otherwise have addressed. This is not correct.

“As early as August 2019, the month after her appointment, she was advised that she must not shout and swear at staff. I advised her on a number of further occasions between September 2019 and February 2020 about the need to treat staff with respect, and to make changes to protect health, safety and wellbeing.”

So the report did not contain all the information but still found that Patel was a bully – and that was not enough for Boris Johnson to have her removed.

The only conclusion is that Boris Johnson does not care if his MPs mistreat the staff of their government departments.

This means civil servants are not safe in their work and may be subjected to abuse by Conservative MPs at any time – and now know that they may not rely on fair treatment from the Conservative government if this happens.

If any such abuse happens in the future, there’s only one course of action for them to take: the same course as Alex Allan.

Perhaps a mass exodus of expertise will teach Johnson the error of being a bully-supporting bonehead.

But I doubt it.

Source: Priti Patel: Bullying inquiry head quits as PM backs home secretary – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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