Backlash for Harpenden and Hitchin MP after he backs Priti Patel

Priti Patel was found to have breached the ministerial code by bullying Home Office staff.

Priti Patel was found to have breached the ministerial code by bullying Home Office staff. - Credit: Archant

Harpenden and Hitchin MP Bim Afolami has given his full support to Home Secretary Priti Patel, despite an independent review finding she had breached the ministerial code by bullying staff.

Bim Afolami has backed Priti Patel on Twitter.

Bim Afolami has backed Priti Patel on Twitter. - Credit: Archant

Mr Afolami posted a tweet through his professional account which unreservedly backed Ms Patel, prompting a backlash from his constituents as the comments were made during Anti-Bullying Week.

He said: “Since I entered Parliament, @pritipatel has been a true friend. She is kind, really cares, and is genuinely helpful. She is also doing a fantastic job as Home Secretary. She has wide and deep support across the @Conservatives and the country.”

Constituents have reacted negatively in response to his comments, including Paddy Storrie, the deputy head of St George’s School in Harpenden.

He wrote: “Now seems I have been dealing incorrectly with bullying all along. If you are generally good at what you do you can’t be a bully says @BimAfolami and the Tories. While we tackle people who are reckless about feelings of others, has to be deliberate says Bim and the Tories. Bullied people have to call out their bully and not seek help from the authorities until they have done so - say the Tories. We say giving and encouragement to a bully is actionable in school - in a Tory cabinet it’s expected of the bully’s colleagues!!

“What a joke anti bullying week in schools is. I hope this government won’t dare ask schools in future about bullying policies or our actions in specific cases. Beyond belief.”

Other comments came from Martyn Reed, who said: “As a constituent I do find your persistent and unquestioning support for your ministers unnerving. Please demonstrate that you have some views of your own.”

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And Matthew Reeve: “Bim, if you truly believe that, you’re finished.”

Sarah Shaw tweeted: “Surely intent isn’t relevant? It’s bullying and harassment if the victim sees it as such and has alerted the offender to the behavour.”

While Pilib Ó Cléirigh posted: “Bullies are like that. They have favourites. If Patel can get away with bullying because it was “unintentional”, why should anyone obey any laws? We can just say it was “unintentional”. Or does that excuse only apply to rich Tories?”

Bim Afolami’s office was contacted for a comment, but was told he would not be responding.