Labour demands probe into whether Priti Patel has breached ministerial code again

Posted On: 
27th July 2019

Labour has hit out at new Home Secretary Priti Patel amid claims she may have broken the ministerial code for a second time.

Home Secretary Priti Patel

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said Boris Johnson's government was "embroiled in scandal" after The Guardian reported that Ms Patel - who was previously sacked by Theresa May for failing to inform her about discussions with a foreign government - took up a £1,000-an-hour advisory role before getting approval from Westminster's lobbying watchdog.

Ms Patel has been working for three months at a California-based global communications firm, Viasat, earning £5,000 a month for five hours’ work.

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But the paper reports that Ms Patel did not seek guidance from the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) until a month after she had started the role in June 2019.

She reportedly did not receive any advice from the committee until earlier this month, when she had already earned £10,000 advising on unspecified matters relating to Asia. 

Ministers must approach Aboca on taking up business appointments within two years of leaving office and former ministers must not take up a new role until they have received advice.

The appointment was ultimately approved by Acoba, but the watchdog said she must not draw on any privileged information from her previous stint in government.

Mr Trickett, Labour’s Shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, has written to Mr Johnson to demand an investigation.

He said: "Very few people will be surprised that Boris Johnson’s Cabinet is embroiled in scandal less than 48 hours after being appointed, yet it is still deeply worrying.

"It is an early sign that Johnson’s hard-right government will have little regard for the standards expected of ministers, by the Ministerial Code and by the public.

"When she resigned in 2017, Patel spoke of her failure to uphold the necessary ‘standards of transparency and openness’. It appears she has done so again.

“Clearly Patel does not think the rules apply to her, and the same could be said of many others in Johnson’s Cabinet."