Priti Patel can act without consequences following PM's support, insists union chief

21 November 2020, 11:32 | Updated: 21 November 2020, 11:33

By Seán Hickey

This union leader was disgusted that Boris Johnson has backed Priti Patel following reports of bullying made against her.

General Secretary of the FDA Dave Penman insisted that Boris Johnson's show of support for Home Secretary Priti Patel "is an extraordinary decision," revealing to Matt Frei that "this just lays bare how inept this whole process is."

"If Priti Patel had behaved like this in parliament there'd have been an independent investigation," he argued, suggesting that the Home Secretary could have expected to be sanctioned.

Mr Penman was speaking following the release of a report which supports claims that Priti Patel has bullied civil servants in the Home Office. The Home Secretary has since apologised for her actions.

"She can walk up Whitehall and essentially now the Prime Minister has said she can act with impunity," claimed Mr Penman.

Matt wondered if the support shown by the PM for his Home Secretary is a clear double standard. The FDA chair pointed out that with this week being anti-bullying week, "the Prime Minister has taken a different view and has demonstrated moral bankruptcy on these issues."

"There are clear double standards at play here."

Matt pushed Mr Penman: "Aren't ministers allowed the journey of redemption as the rest of us are," he asked.

The union boss accepted that the Home Secretary should be allowed redeem herself, but "there are rules," that she has clearly broken.

"What does it say about the morality and standards of public life?" He asked.

Mr Penman hit out at the PM's show of support for Ms Patel, pointing out that it is Boris Johnson's own rules on bullying that have been broken.

"When that becomes an inconvenient political choice, those words don't matter anymore."