UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday backed his Cabinet minister Priti Patel, despite a Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations of bullying concluding that she had breached the Ministerial Code, albeit "unintentionally".
While ministers are usually expected to resign if they breach the code, it ultimately rests with the prime minister on whether to take any action on the independent Ministerial Code adviser's findings.
Johnson, who has consistently supported Patel ever since the allegations first emerged earlier this year, declared that he still has "full confidence" in the 48-year-old Indian-origin minister, who holds one of the UK's highest political offices as Home Secretary.
It has, however, led to the resignation of Alex Allan, the independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, as the decision seems to go against the findings of his report.
"My advice is that the Home Secretary has not consistently met the high standards required by the Ministerial Code of treating her civil servants with consideration and respect. Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals," his report notes.
"To that extent, her behaviour has been in breach of the Ministerial Code, even if unintentionally. This conclusion needs to be seen in context. There is no evidence that she was aware of the impact of her behaviour, and no feedback was given to her at the time," it reads.