Boris Johnson is reportedly preparing to censure Priti Patel over bullying civil servants, but will stop short of sacking the home secretary.
An inquiry into Patel’s conduct toward civil servants in the Home Department was launched nine months ago after a series of complaints.
Included among the complainants was the department’s top civil servant Philip Rutnam, who left his post in February and sued the government for unfair dismissal.
Rutnam said Patel had helped wage a “vicious and orchestrated campaign” against him through a series of Fleet Street leaks.
The inquiry into Patel’s behaviour has been held up by Downing Street for months, according to former cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.
Whitehall sources have today told the Financial Times that Johnson will “fudge” the report and allow Patel to remain in her position.
Instead he will only issue Patel a written warning.
The inquiry reportedly contains serious criticisms of the home secretary’s behaviour, which may be in breach of the ministerial code of conduct.
The conduct says “harassing, bullying or other inappropriate or discriminating behaviour wherever it takes place is not consistent with the ministerial code and will not be tolerated”.
Johnson is ultimately responsible for upholding the code of conduct and will have to make a decision on whether to publish the Patel inquiry.
The Cabinet Office said: “The process is ongoing and the prime minister will make any decision on the matter public once the process has concluded.”