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UK PM says he backs interior minister after inquiry into her conduct

Priti Patel smiling for the camera FILE

But the Prime Minister's adviser on Ministerial Standards, Sir Alex Allan, has resigned in response to Mr Johnson's decision to keep Ms Patel as Home Secretary.

"I am sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people".

"If, as is being suggested, substance has been found in some of the allegations against the Home Secretary, then the Prime Minister should have no choice but to conclude that the code has been breached".

"Having pledged his support for the Home Secretary when the investigation began, and now sat on the report since the summer, he has already undermined confidence in this being a fair and impartial process".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told ITV News she had always been "courteous and kind" in all his dealings with her.

Foreign Office minister Mr Cleverly, who is MP for Braintree, said he was "proud that my friend and neighbour is leading the Home Office and delivering increased police numbers and secure borders".

In his published advice, he said: "She is action-orientated and can be direct".

However he added that the home secretary had "legitimately - not always felt supported by the department".

He said there were "occasions of shouting and swearing" that had upset people, though he accepted that Patel may not have meant to have that effect.

"It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone", the home secretary said.

Citing unnamed Whitehall officials, the paper said the prime minister was intending to "fudge" the outcome of the report which has "robust criticisms" of Patel's behaviour.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Yet again, the Prime Minister has been found wanting when his leadership has been tested".

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the Prime Minister appeared to be engaged in a cover-up and called for the immediate publication of the inquiry's findings.

He said: "It is hard to imagine another workplace in the United Kingdom where this behaviour would be condoned by those at the top". The Government should be setting an example.

"He seems to believe there is one rule for him and his allies and another rule for everyone else".

Members of Britain's Conservative government defended the country's interior minister on Friday after an investigation reportedly found she broke ministerial rules by bullying staff.

The Financial Times said that the probe would be concluded "imminently" but that Boris Johnson would only issue Patel with a written warning, rather than dismissing her from the Cabinet.

The government said the PM had "full confidence" in his home secretary.

The bullying inquiry was launched in March, prompted by allegations that Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments, said the London-based The Guardian newspaper.

Sir Philip Rutnam quit as permanent secretary at the Home Office in February, after complaining about Ms Patel's conduct, and is now suing the government for unfair dismissal.

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