THE SNP’s Joanna Cherry has criticised unaccountability in Downing Street after Boris Johnson stood by the Home Secretary despite an inquiry concluding that Priti Patel had broken the ministerial code over her conduct.

The Prime Minister’s adviser on the ministerial code, Sir Alex Allan, then resigned after Boris Johnson overruled him and backed Priti Patel instead and kept her in her post. MP Cherry said:“This entire episode is yet another example of the total lack of accountability at the heart of this Tory government and the self-serving politics dominating Downing Street.

“It is not surprising that the Prime Minister’s adviser on the ministerial code has felt compelled to resign after Boris Johnson’s appalling decision to overrule the conclusions of his report – it is Priti Patel who should be resigning.

“Instead, the Prime Minister is ignoring due process to protect her. His backing of Priti Patel is like his backing of Dominic Cummings after he broke lockdown rules – staggering and shameful.

“I shall be demanding that both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary answer to Parliament for this shabby situation.”

Johnson contradicted Allan’s advice by judging that Patel did not breach the rules despite being found to have bullied staff.

Allan said the Home Secretary had not always treated civil servants with “consideration and respect” and concluded that her approach on occasions “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals”. He said Patel had “not consistently met the high standards required by the ministerial code”, though said there was “no evidence that she was aware of the impact of her behaviour”.

But Johnson, who is the arbiter of the code, judged that Patel did not breach the rules. He continues to have “full confidence” in the Home Secretary and “considers this matter now closed”, according to a Government statement.

Allan said in a statement: “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.”

Patel issued an “unreserved, fulsome apology” and said there were “no excuses” for what happened. She told the BBC: “I have clearly upset people in the past and on reflection – and I have had time to reflect upon this as well – looking at what has been published today on the report, there is no question I’m absolutely sorry for the upset that has been caused and I’m very, very clear about that.”

Patel said she wanted to change the “culture and ways of working” in the Home Office, but said it is a “challenging department” where “we’re making life and death decisions every single day”. Ministers are usually expected to resign if they breach the code.