Rishi Sunak defends Priti Patel over bullying allegations by claiming shouting is 'sometimes necessary'

George Martin
·2-min read
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak reacts during a media interview after arriving at the BBC in central London on November 22, 2020, to take appear on the BBC political programme The Andrew Marr Show. - Britain's debt is now at its highest level since 1961 as a share of GDP, after the government embarked on a massive spending spree to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Sunak defended Patel over the bullying allegations on Sunday. (Getty)

Rishi Sunak has defended Priti Patel following bullying allegations made against her by claiming shouting is “necessary sometimes”.

The chancellor told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the home secretary was “entirely kind” despite an inquiry finding she had broken the ministerial code by shouting and swearing at staff.

Patel has apologised for her behaviour and prime minister Boris Johnson has refused to sack her despite pressure from Labour.

"I don't think shouting is an effective way to get the best out of people,” Sunak said on Sunday.

Video grab of Home Secretary Priti Patel who has escalated the UK terror threat level from 'substantial' to 'severe' following an attack in Vienna that left at least three dead. (Photo by PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)
Patel was found to have shouted at staff by an independent report. (Getty)

"But it is necessary sometimes to be direct in order to drive progress in an organisation, particularly under stressful circumstances."

Sunak added: "On a personal level, I've worked closely with Priti and found her to be entirely kind and very focused and passionate about what she does."

It comes as shadow business minister Lucy Powell said it is "appalling" that Boris Johnson has decided to back Priti Patel, rather than sacking her.

Read more: Former top official contradicts Priti Patel’s defence to bullying inquiry

She told Sky News' Sophy Ridge: "I think her position is completely untenable, absolutely.

“She's been found by an independent inquiry of breaking the ministerial code and I think if you are found of breaking the ministerial code, your position is completely untenable.

"I think it's appalling the prime minister has decided to back her instead of sacking her, and that's what he should have done."

Watch: Boris Johnson accused of trying to tone down Patel bullying report

Several media outlets reported over the weekend that Johnson attempted to tone down the independent report.

It found Patel had not met the standards set under Britain's Ministerial Code which states ministers should treat officials with respect.

The author of the report, the government's ethics adviser Alex Allan, resigned on Friday following its publication after the prime minister backed Patel.

A government statement said Johnson judged the code had not been breached, however, saying that concerns had not been raised at the time and that Patel was unaware of the impact of her actions.

"The prime minister has full confidence in the home secretary and considers this matter now closed," the statement said.

On Saturday, the Times newspaper and the BBC said Johnson had tried and failed to convince Allan to tone down his findings, particularly the assertion that Patel's behaviour amounted to bullying.

A spokeswoman for Johnson's office said the report reflected Allan's thinking. "As you would expect, the prime minister spoke to Sir Alex Allan to further his understanding of the issues. Sir Alex's conclusions are entirely his own."