BORIS Johnson has declared he is “sticking by” Priti Patel despite even more bullying complaints against her.
The Home Secretary has faced a flurry of allegations in the past week, and is now facing a Whitehall inquiry into her behaviour.
This includes three separate serious allegations of bullying, across three different ministries.
At PMQs today, the Prime Minister told MPs: “The home secretary is doing an outstanding job delivering change, putting police out on the street, cutting crime and delivering a new immigration system.
“I’m sticking by her.”
She denies all the allegations against her.
Jeremy Corbyn accused Mr Johnson of being “determined to cover up for bullies in his government”.
Immediately after the fierce defence, Labour declared they have been contacted by civil servants in the Home Office and other departments detailing even more bullying and harassment allegations against Ms Patel.
Mr Corbyn’s spokesman said: “It is quite clear this is not an isolated allegation by one individual about one incident or one set of incidents.”
It comes hours after Ms Patel was accused of bullying a third senior civil servant out of his job so badly that he signed off with stress.
The embattled Cabinet minister is alleged to have repeatedly harassed and belittled her private secretary while she ran the Department for International Development.
Ms Patel adamantly denied the fresh claims as “completely false”, and allies blamed a vendetta against her by a civil service faction.
The new allegation was made to HOAR by a friend of her former private secretary, who was also a senior figure who worked at DIFD at the time.
The friend said: “She was utterly appalling to him, really nasty and demanding all of the time.
“She bullied the f*** out of him to the point he got ill and asked for a move.”
Two other officials who also worked in the department corroborated the friend’s claims, with one dubbing Ms Patel’s behaviour as “really shocking”.
A friend of Ms Patel hit back to dub it “gravely concerning” that a small number of “unelected civil servants” are continuing to brief against her.
Ms Patel arrived at DFID after being promoted to Development Secretary by Theresa May in July 2016 with a determined agenda to reform the ministry and focus aid spending far closer on the UK’s national interests.
She had previously called for the department to be scrapped.
The allegations have led to a Cabinet Office probe into the bullying allegations, following Home Office boss Sir Philip Rutnam’s dramatic resignation on Saturday to sue Ms Patel.
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.
In an email to all Home Office staff last night, Ms Patel said she “regrets” Sir Philip’s decision to resign.
She said she “deeply cared” about the “wellbeing” of her civil servants and valued their professionalism, adding: “It is now time for the Home Office to come together as one team”.