Phil Syrpis Profile picture
20 Nov, 13 tweets, 3 min read
Quick thread on the Priti Patel bullying investigation; linking to the main documents.

TL;DR: It is not surprising that Sir Alex Allan felt it right to resign. 1/12
The starting point are the findings of the Independent Adviser (Sir Alex Allan). They are set out here:… 2/
One of the key parts...

“My advice is that the Home Secretary has not consistently met the high standards required by the Ministerial Code of treating her civil servants with consideration and respect... 3/
... Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals. To that extent her behaviour has been in breach of the Ministerial Code, even if unintentionally." 4/
The next document is the Government statement, explaining the PM's conclusions. He 'is grateful to Sir Alex for his advice and has considered his conclusions carefully.'… 5/
The statement notes that Sir Alex advised that 'the Home Secretary had not consistently met the high standards expected of her under the Ministerial Code'.

[If you recall, Sir Alex in fact said that her behaviour was in breach of it.] 6/
In his conclusion, the PM says he 'is reassured that the Home Secretary is sorry for inadvertently upsetting those with whom she was working. He is also reassured that relationships, practices and culture in the Home Office are much improved. ... 7/
... 'As the arbiter of the code, having considered Sir Alex’s advice and weighing up all the factors, the Prime Minister’s judgement is that the Ministerial Code was not breached.' 8/
So... 'The Prime Minister has full confidence in the Home Secretary and considers this matter now closed.'

It is true that under the Code, the PM is the final arbiter.

And also true that his conclusions differ sharply from those of Sir Alex. 9/
The final part of the story (so far...) is the statement from Sir Alex Allan. It is here: 10/…
“I recognise that it is for the Prime Minister to make a judgement on whether actions by a Minister amount to a breach of the Ministerial Code. But I feel that it is right that I should now resign from my position as the Prime Minister’s independent adviser on the Code.” 11/
This is very stark stuff.

The PM is ignoring Sir Alex's advice that the Ministerial Code was breached, and is belittling bullying.

He is once using his discretion to protect those close to him. It is just the latest in a long, squalid, saga. 12/12
PS One more snippet here, from Sir Philip Rutman, casting doubt about on the PM’s, and Priti Patel’s, version of events.

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More from @syrpis

18 Nov
I don't know whether it is worth going here yet again... but the core of the difficulty with Brexit lies with the nature of the referendum mandate. Short thread. 1/8
In 2016, 52% voted to leave the EU. Many, often contradictory promises were made about what leave might mean. 2/8
Among leavers there were, and are, those who favour remaining in the SM or CU, those who want a 'good' (however defined) deal with the EU, and those who want a much 'cleaner break'. 3/8
Read 9 tweets
11 Nov
First the European 'Research' Group. Now the Covid 'Recovery' Group.

A quick thread on why their ideas appeal, and why they are dangerous. 1/
They appeal because they tell people what they want to hear. They propose simple solutions which people want to be true (h/t @rolandmcs).

[There's a cartoon to insert here of people choosing the easy path and falling off a cliff, which I can't find!] 2/
In relation to Brexit, they say that the UK (as a sovereign state) should have regulatory freedom. Also, it should (as now) have access to European markets. And (again as now) there is no need for hard borders, unless of course they are forced on us by 'the other side'. 3/
Read 14 tweets
17 Oct
The stand-off between @BorisJohnson and @AndyBurnhamGM is developing into something very interesting. Thread. 1/9
Number 10's plan has some appeal. Given where we are with COVID, and the big variation in case numbers, it makes sense, in public health terms, to have a local response. 2/9
It also makes sense, this time in a political sense, to share, or to pass, responsibility for tighter restrictions on to local politicians (I think Michael Portillo made this point on Question Time). 3/9
Read 9 tweets
15 Oct
Today's Brexit news does not come as a surprise. There has, once again, been no meaningful progress. It is *very easy* to see why. And December approaches. 1/8
In a negotiation, it pays to understand the position of the other side. The EU side has struggled to understand the position of the UK. The UK side has made next to no effort to understand position of the EU. 2/8
The UK is asking for *both* unfettered regulatory freedom and unfettered access to the EU market. Given the EU's - unambiguous - insistence on the integrity of the single market, and the realities of international trade, that is an impossible ask. 3/8
Read 8 tweets
15 Oct
A long thread (sorry) about Universities and the response to COVID-19. It's very much a personal view. 1/22
I'm not going to go through the history - on that, I whole-heartedly recommend @gsoh31's blog (below). Instead, I focus on some of the steps which led us to where we are today.… 2/
Since March we have had... (1) the last-minute move to online teaching for the end of the 19/20 academic year, with online assessments in May/June and August/September. Exams and exam rules rewritten, with staff working from home to process them. 3/
Read 24 tweets
13 Oct
Just had the misfortune to see @RobertJenrick's interview on the BBC. 1/12
The rhetoric goes like this: We are at a moment of maximum danger. We have hard choices to make. We will work closely with local leaders. And, wait for it, we have devised a new framework. 2/
This new 3 tier framework (with the country divided into 'medium', 'high' and 'very high') has been getting lots of attention. But, it has not been properly scrutinised. 3/
Read 14 tweets

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