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Whitehall Union Claims Victory After Court Dismisses its Case Against Johnson and Patel

© REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLSMemorial service for former officer Matt Ratana, in London
Memorial service for former officer Matt Ratana, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
Priti Patel has complained of 'pushback' against government policy from civil servants since becoming the first female home secretary of Indian descent in 2019, but has denied claims she shouted and swore at staff at meetings.
The UK High Court has dismissed a judicial review of the prime minister's refusal to sack Home Secretary Priti Patel over bullying claims by Whitehall mandarins.
But the First Division Association (FDA) - the union representing top civil servants - claimed victory over Boris Johnson, demanding the court make the government pay its legal fees.
Lord Justice Lewis ruled that Johnson had not "misdirected himself" on the ministerial code when he decided to take no action against Patel over allegations that she shouted at senior staff in the Home Office, some of whom are paid more than the PM.
The union called the dismissal "an unexpected development", insisting: "The judgment represents a major victory for the FDA."

"The judgment today represents a clear rejection of the idea that there are different standards for ministers than for civil servants," FDA general-secretary Dave Penman said.

The union insisted that the ruling confirmed its claim that the code's ban on bullying, discrimination and harassment was "justiciable in the courts" — and that the PM must apply those rules in dealing with complaints against government ministers.
It said the court had determined that a minister could be held responsible for bullying even if he or she "does not intend or is not aware of the upset and distress caused by their actions".
The court found Johnson "did not acquit the Home Secretary of bullying, and that he did not reject the findings of Sir Alex Allan that her conduct amounted to bullying," Penman said.
"This will bring some comfort to those civil servants who were brave enough to come forward and give evidence," he added.
Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel arrives for the remembrance mass of MP David Amess, who was stabbed to death during a meeting with constituents, at Westminster Cathedral in London, Britain, November 23, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.11.2021
Priti Patel to Hold Talks on Migration Crisis With European Ministers Despite French Snub
Johnson refused to discipline Patel last December after a report by his then-adviser on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allan, found she "unintentionally" broke the ministerial code with her behaviour at meetings. The PM insisted that the home secretary was not a bully and had his "full confidence".
Patel issued an "unreserved apology" after the inquiry, but insisted claims made to Sir Alex that she shouted and swore at staff were "not accurate". She also revealed changes were being made to management "across the board" at the Home Office.
She, in turn, accused the civil service of "pushback" against the government's policies since she became the first ethnic minority woman to hold the post in 2019 — echoing complaints made by staunch left-wing thinker, the late Labour MP and former cabinet minister, Tony Benn.
Only last week anonymous "Whitehall sources" called Patel a "headless chicken" in comments to the media over her attempts to resolve the crisis of people being trafficked from the European Union.
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