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04th Mar 2020

PMQs: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn clash over coronavirus and Priti Patel bullying allegations

Fran Golinski Drinkwater

Boris Johnson is standing by Priti Patel amid bullying allegations

The leader of the Labour party accused Boris Johnson of being a ‘part-time prime minister’ and asked him if the NHS is capable of dealing with a national outbreak of coronavirus, when 94 per cent of hospital beds are already occupied. Johnson announced emergency measures to allow the payment of statutory sick pay from the first day of sickness, instead of 4 days under the current rules.

Jeremy Corbyn also demanded to know whether Boris Johnson knew about the allegations of bullying against Priti Patel and if he did, why he appointed her. Corbyn also took issue with the allegations being investigated by Johnson’s own Cabinet Office.

Boris Johnson claims the Home Secretary Priti Patel is ‘doing an outstanding job’ and that he has ‘every confidence’ in her, despite the allegations that have been made against her over the last few days.

Patel is accused of bullying and harassing her staff, including one junior member of staff who allegedly attempted suicide at her desk after being dismissed on the grounds that Patel did not ‘like her face’. She then received a £25,000 payout.

This comes after senior civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam resigned after 33 years on Saturday, citing ‘a vicious and orchestrated campaign’ against him by the Home Secretary.