Priti Patel Struggles To Apologise – Again - Rugby and Daventry Radio Station Midlands UK            

Priti Patel Struggles To Apologise – Again

Written by on November 20, 2020

Article Published on Friday November 20, 2020 10:00 PM by

Priti Patel Struggles To Apologise – Again

Priti Patel has said sorry if her behaviour “has upset people” amid a civil service bullying row in the home secretary’s latest questionable apology.

On Friday, the prime minister stood by his cabinet minister despite an internal investigation finding her guilty of bullying in the Home Office.

It caused Sir Alex Allan, Boris Johnson’s influential adviser on ministerial interests, to quit after his probe revealed instances of Patel “shouting and swearing” and “behaviour that can be described as bullying”, and in turn failed to meet the ministerial code.

Patel issued an “unreserved, fulsome apology” and said there were “no excuses” for what happened – but stressed that her behaviour was not “intentional”.

In a statement, she said: “I am sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people. It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone.”


Home secretary Priti Patel at Westminster.


She later told the BBC that “any upset that I’ve caused is completely unintentional and at the time, of course it says it’s in the report, that issues were not pointed out to me”.

In a doubtless carefully prepared statement, Patel appears to be apologising for the “upset” she has caused and not the behaviour itself – a position that follows previous regretful remarks that could be classified as “sorry, not sorry”.

When faced with accusations in April that doctors were dying during the pandemic because of a lack of personal protective equipment, she said: “I’m sorry if people feel that there have been failings.” 

When she apologised in 2017 after allegations that she broke ministerial rules by holding official meetings while on “holiday” in Israel, she at first said the foreign secretary Boris Johnson had known about it and then later admitted the Foreign Office was not informed. Again, the apology had caveats and emphasised how her actions could be “mis-read”.

“In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be mis-read, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures,” she said. “I am sorry for this and I apologise for it.”

Her apology to the Windrush generation in March – after the publication of the long-awaited independent review of lessons learned – put the blame on “successive governments”.

While Patel’s style of apology is used by many people in public life facing scrutiny, the senior minister is a “serial offender”, behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings told HuffPost UK.

She continued: “In spite of saying she was making an ‘unreserved apology’, one without any conditions and usually used by the press or media, rather than an individual, this apology was anything but ‘unreserved’.

“Her apology, if that is even the right word for it – I think it’s more a defensive strategy – with its caveat of ‘if I upset people’ and numerous mentions of the word ‘unintentional’, indicates a complete lack of ownership of any wrong doing.

“Not only does it assume no responsibility it also implies that those who were distressed by her behaviour were probably not robust enough to do their jobs effectively.”

She added: “It shows zero empathy and every suggestion that her colleagues were being weak, irrational and over-sensitive. In fact, it is quite the reverse of an apology, not only lacking any responsibility for her behaviour, but implicitly pushing blame onto those who were not robust enough to appreciate the pressure she was under.”

Hemmings says previous apologies have the same tenor – “sorry” that people felt that way, but that is their problem not hers.

She said: “It’s arrogant and driven by her thirst for power and superiority.

“It is a statement of invincibility and a declaration that her ‘bullying’ approach is very unlikely to be modified by the current findings.”

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Priti Patel Struggles To Apologise – Again
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