Civil servants union given green light for judicial review challenge over decision by Prime Minister that Home Secretary did not break Ministerial Code

The First Division Association has been given permission to bring a judicial review challenge over the Prime Minister’s decision that Home Secretary Priti Patel did not break the Ministerial Code in her treatment of civil servants.

Following an investigation Sir Alex Allan had advised Boris Johnson that the Home Secretary had “not consistently met the high standards required by the Ministerial Code of treating her civil servants with consideration and respect. Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals”.

He added that, to that extent, her behaviour had been in breach of the Ministerial Code, “even if unintentionally”.

Sir Alex said, however, that this conclusion needed to be seen in context. “There is no evidence that she was aware of the impact of her behaviour, and no feedback was given to her at the time.”

Article continues below...

The Prime Minister subsequently decided that the Home Secretary had not broken the code.

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said: “We are very pleased that Mr Justice Linden has today granted permission for a full hearing in our judicial review. The Ministerial Code is the only means by which civil servants can raise complaints against the conduct of ministers and it is vital that decisions on this are subject to the rule of law.

“Ministers should be held to the same standards of conduct as civil servants. We welcome the opportunity now granted to argue that point fully that the Prime Minister erred in his interpretation of the Ministerial Code when deciding that the Home Secretary did not break the code.”

(c) HB Editorial Services Ltd 2009-2020