A report into claims the UK home secretary, Priti Patel, bullied staff should be made public or people may think the allegations were “brushed over”, an adviser to Boris Johnson has said.
Lord Evans of Weardale, the former head of MI5 and now adviser on standards in public life, told the Times that not putting the accusations to bed risked undermining voters’ trust.
A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March over allegations that Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments.
Sir Philip Rutnam, who was the Home Office’s permanent secretary, quit earlier this year, accusing the minister of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” against him. He is claiming constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal.
Patel has expressed concern at the “false” claims, and allies have described her as a “demanding” boss but not a bully.
Evans told the newspaper: “When you have got these allegations that have not really been put to bed then it’s easy to say they’ve just been brushed over and I don’t think that’s ideal for public trust and public standards.
“The Priti Patel case would be an example. The Cabinet Office has done some form of investigation. It has not been published so it is very difficult to know whether there was something here or whether there wasn’t.”
The head of the cvil service, Simon Case, told MPs in October it was up to Johnson to draw conclusions from the Whitehall investigation and decide whether to make its report public.
Responding to questions on the slow progress of the inquiry in the Lords last week, the Cabinet Office minister Lord True said: “The prime minister asked the Cabinet Office to establish the facts in line with the ministerial code. To protect the interests of all involved, the government does not comment on the specifics of these kinds of ongoing processes.
“The prime minister will make any decision on the matter public once the process has concluded.”