Who is Priti Patel and what has she done?

HOME Secretary Priti Patel is a vital member of the cabinet, responsible for overseeing key issues such as immigration and law and order.

But Ms Patel has stolen headlines over allegations of ministerial misconduct and bullying in the workplace, with a response expected from Boris Johnson as the findings of the report are released today (Friday, November 20, 2020).

Who is Priti Patel?

Priti Sushil Patel, 48, is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for the Home Department- or Home Secretary – since 2019.

She previously served as Secretary of State for International Development from 2016 to 2017.

Ms Patel also served as Minister of State for Employment from May 2015 until July 2016.

She was also Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury from July 2014 to May 2015.

A member of the Conservative Party, she has been Member of Parliament for Witham since 2010.

In November 2013, the Prime Minister appointed Priti as the first ever UK Indian Diaspora Champion. Before becoming an MP, she worked in consultancy and worked internationally.

What has Priti Patel been accused of?

Ms Patel has been at the centre of a political row after she faced three serious allegations of bullying across three separate ministries.

A row exploded in February after top civil servant at the Home Office Sir Philip Rutnam quit, saying Ms Patel mistreated staff by swearing and shouting – claims she has always denied.

But the formal probe into the affair has concluded that her frustration with the poor leadership from officials in her department was justified, and no concerns were raised with her about bad behaviour.

It has also emerged that a former aide to Ms Patel was given a £25,000 payout after she took an overdose of prescription medicine following her alleged bullying.

The incident took place while she was Employment Minister in the Department for Work and Pensions.

While employment minister, she also throw a folder at an official’s face, according to a source quoted by the Daily Mail.

BBC Newsnight then revealed that officials in her private office at the Department for International Development had accused her of humiliating civil servants.

According to reports, she was found to have failed to meet the requirement to treat civil servants with respect and consideration.

Normally ministers are expected to resign if they breach the code, however the Prime Minister is expected to point to a finding that her conduct was "unintentional".

What has Priti Patel said about bullying claims?

Patel has strongly denied allegations of bullying.

She has also expressed concern at the "false" claims,

Allies have described her as a “demanding” boss but not a bully. 

A government spokesman said: "The process is ongoing and the prime minister will make any decision on the matter public once the process has concluded."

How tall is Priti Patel?

There are mutiple reports as to how tall Ms Patel is.

Ms Patel is reported as 5ft 3in or 5ft 6in depending on the source.

She is considered to be the shortest member of Boris Johnson's cabinet.

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