Boris Johnson is facing allegations that he pressured his standards advisor to water down his report on the Home Secretary's bullying of staff as he urged Tory MPs to 'form a square around the Pritster'.
Downing Street did not deny claims Mr Johnson had tried and failed to convince Sir Alex Allan to tone down his conclusion that Priti Patel's behaviour amounted to bullying as he found instances of shouting and swearing at staff.
The advisor quit on Friday when the Prime Minister overruled his conclusion that Ms Patel breached the ministerial code and stood by his Conservative colleague, calling on others within the party to do the same.
But a Whitehall source told the BBC that Sir Alex resisted pressure to make the findings more 'palatable'.
This morning, Sir David Normington, former Home Office permanent secretary and former first civil service commissioner, told BBC Radio Four's Today programme he thought Mr Johnson's lack of action suggested he wasn't willing to protect victims and 'stand up for high standards in public life'.
Boris Johnson is facing allegations that he pressured his standards advisor to water down his report on Priti Patel's bullying of staff to make the findings more 'palatable'
Downing Street did not deny claims Mr Johnson had tried and failed to convince Sir Alex Allan, pictured, to tone down his conclusion that the Home Secretary's behaviour amounted to bullying as he found instances of shouting and swearing at staff
He said: 'It seems to me there needs to be a recognition from her and the PM that she was found to have bullied staff, possibly in three departments, not just the Home Office. That is completely unacceptable.
'Although it was good she apologised, it wasn't an apology for bullying, there has been no acknowledgement from her or the PM that she bullied. In fact, the PM has simply put aside the findings of the report and the independent advisor Alex Allen that she is a bully. You shouldn't have bullies in government.
Who said what?
Priti Patel: 'I am sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people. It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone. I am very grateful for the hard work of thousands of civil servants who help to deliver the Government's agenda.
'I care deeply about delivering on the commitments we have made to the people of this country and I acknowledge that I am direct and have at times got frustrated.
'I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his support. The Permanent Secretary and I are working closely together to deliver on the vital job the Home Office has to do for the country.'
Sir Alex Allan: 'I recognise that it is for the Prime Minister to make a judgement on whether actions by a Minister amount to a breach of the Ministerial Code.
'But I feel that it is right that I should now resign from my position as the Prime Minister's independent adviser on the Code.'
Home Office Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft: 'Sir Alex Allan's findings make difficult reading, including for the Civil Service.
'The Home Secretary and I are committed to working together to improve the Home Office and build the strongest possible partnership between Ministers and officials based on support, candour, safety to challenge, mutual respect and professionalism. Relationships between Ministers and officials have improved considerably.
Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister's Press Secretary: 'The Prime Minister does personally take these allegations exceedingly seriously.
'He loathes bullying. He takes it very seriously and recognises that it is very difficult for people to come forward and raise concerns. It is a brave thing to do. He knows that.
'He did say that he would not tolerate bullying. He hasn't tolerated bullying. It is not his belief that Priti Patel is a bully.'