LONDON (AA) – An adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned on Friday after the premier backed Home Secretary Priti Patel over a ministerial conduct inquiry.
In his long-awaited report published on Friday, Sir Alex Allan found that Patel’s behavior was “in breach of the ministerial code.”
Johnson, though, rejected the findings and said he had “full confidence” in Patel, prompting Allan to resign shortly after.
Patel had “not consistently met the high standards required by the ministerial code of treating her civil servants with consideration and respect,” according to the inquiry report.
“Her approach on occasions has amounted to behavior that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals,” it said.
“To that extent her behavior has been in breach of the ministerial code, even if unintentionally.”
Following Johnson’s ruling that Patel did not breach the ministerial code, Allan said he would resign as the independent adviser on ministerial code.
“I recognize that it is for the prime minister to make a judgement on whether actions by a minister amount to a breach of the ministerial code,” he said in a statement.
“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.”
Patel, on the other hand, apologized for her past behavior in a statement.
“I am sorry that my behavior in the past has upset people,” she said.
“It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone. I am very grateful for the hard work of thousands of civil servants who help to deliver the Government’s agenda.”
She added: “I care deeply about delivering on the commitments we have made to the people of this country and I acknowledge that I am direct and have at times got frustrated. I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his support.”
Patel was appointed by Johnson as Britain’s home secretary in July 2019.
She had to resign as the International Development Secretary in 2017, after reports that she held meetings with Israeli officials in August that year without the knowledge of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
She had been a staunch supporter of the Leave campaign before the 2016 referendum on the UK’s EU membership.