On 23rd November 2020, Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case wrote to all ministers warning against bullying:
"There is a particular duty on Ministers and Permanent Secretaries to create jointly across government a culture which is professional, respectful, focused and ambitious for change and in which there is no place for bullying."
This followed an official enquiry into bullying allegations against the Home Secretary, which found that Priti Patel had broken the Ministerial Code. It said her “approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals.”
And yet, Johnson did not sack Patel. Indeed, his main concern seemed to be protecting the Home Secretary. “Form a square around the Prittster”, he was reported to have urged MPs.
Johnson’s statement that “there is no place for bullying” in government is shown to be empty and cynical by his failure to discipline Priti Patel.