Priti Patel defended by almost 100 allies over bullying claims

PRITI Patel has been defended by almost 100 allies over the flurry of bullying allegations against her.

The Home Secretary has faced a series of questions over her alleged behaviour, but has now been labelled a “tough, assertive and effective leader”.

In a letter to The Telegraph, more than 90 people including former Charity Commission chief William Shawcross and Conservative election guru Sir Lynton Crosby came to her defence.

They said: "We do not recognise the picture that has been painted of her this week.

“There's no argument that she is a tough, assertive and effective leader, but even under extreme pressure she has never crossed a line or lost her temper.

"She expects high standards, as a strong leader should, but is always professional.

“She gives her all for this country and deserves far better treatment than she has received."

It comes after she was hit by yet another claim of bullying, being accused of throwing a folder at an officials face.

A Whitehall source said: "She was being briefed by officials for an event and there was a page missing and she got annoyed.

"At the end of the briefing, she threw the folder at him and hit him in the face.

"It was so aggressive. She didn't apologise. It was just like when Alex Ferguson chucked the boot at Beckham."

However, a spokesman for Mrs Patel said the claim was "categorically false".

An investigation has been launched into the allegations.

Yesterday the Prime Minister once again said he would be standing by her, insisting she was doing an "outstanding job".

Speaking to ITV, he said: "It does without saying, I don't like bullying at all. We have got to investigate it.

"There is a proper Cabinet office investigation, we will get to the bottom of it.

"But my instinct is to stick with Prit, as they say. She is doing an outstanding job."

Last weekend the Home Office was rocked by the resignation of top civil servant, Sir Philip Rutnam, who accused Ms Patel of lying and bullying staff.

In a bombshell statement he claimed she had sworn at staff and made unreasonable demands.

He's intending to take her and the Department to court for constructive dismissal.

Labour has called for an independent inquiry – and demanded she is suspended while it takes place.

Jeremy Corbyn accused Mr Johnson of being "determined to cover up for bullies in his government”.

The Sun previously revealed how Ms Patel had complaints from her time at the Department for International Development too.

The embattled Cabinet minister is alleged to have repeatedly harassed and belittled her private secretary at the time.

A friend of the former staffer said: “She was utterly appalling to him, really nasty and demanding all of the time.

“She bullied the f*** out of him to the point he got ill and asked for a move.”

It has also emerged that a former aide to Ms Patel was given a £25,000 payout after she took an overdose of prescription medicine following her alleged bullying.

A friend of Ms Patel hit back to dub it “gravely concerning” that a small number of “unelected civil servants” are continuing to brief against her.

Iain Duncan Smith added: "Some of the civil service are using Priti Patel to take on the Government.

"They're using Priti to weaken Downing Street's resolve.

"It's complete nonsense from start to end. I've worked with her and yes, she's tough, she's strident. But she's trying to get a job done."

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