Steve Barclay bullying claim during open season on Ministers

Steve Barclay has reportedly become the latest senior Government figure to be accused of bullying – prompting a senior civil servant to claim that it is now “open season on ministers”.

The Health Secretary has been accused of “bad behaviour” towards Department of Health and Social Care staff since he took up the role last summer. However, sources close to Barclay say “there’s been no complaint at any department he’s worked in” and that the allegation is “completely untrue”.

Nonetheless, health department officials have reportedly “raised concerns” with Chris Wormald, the department’s permanent secretary, after receiving informal complaints from civil servants. 

Read more: Barclay goes to war with nurses as he takes legal action over strikes

However, friends and ex-colleagues of Barclay have rubbished the allegations and indicated civil servants feel inspired to “go after” any ministers they weren’t fans of.  It follows Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab’s resignation when an investigation found he had bullied staff.

Just five days ago, the Mail issued a warning that Rishi Sunak’s judgement to forfeit the Justice Secretary would cause further intense criticisms to be thrown in the direction of the Government.  

There have been further ‘raised concerns’ from Department of Health officials about ‘micro-manager’ Barclay’s conduct, with sources saying he was “constantly angry” and that “everyone finds (him) quite challenging”.

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Another source told The Daily Mail: “Barclay’s style is very macho… he hauls people over the coals and is a bit unpleasant.” However, however someone close to him claimed “this is all a bit thin”.

And a senior civil servant, who worked with the Health Secretary in the Cabinet Office, said: “I do not recognise any of these allegations, he was always professional.  He set high standards but he was running a Government department.”

Another reportedly said: “This is open season on ministers.” 

Jacob Rees-Mogg endorsed his Conservative Party colleague, labelling him “effective” and “tough”, adding: “To translate that into bullying is absurd. Dominic Raab’s departure emboldened civil servants to go after a government they do not like.”

No formal complaints have been received about ministers’ behaviour according to the Health Department.

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