Boris Johnson avoids being barred from disciplining former colleague over expenses abuse

LONDON — Boris Johnson was set to escape further punishment after losing a legal battle over a bullying inquiry into his alleged manipulation of an expenses claim by Priti Patel, the ex-dinner companion who now holds the foreign secretary’s old job.

The newspaper The Sun reported that Johnson had successfully defeated last month’s high court ruling that he should be barred from being served with disciplinary proceedings for interfering with the investigation by the British lower House of Commons’ standards committee.

In an interview with the newspaper, Patel described Johnson, now widely known for his love of beer and horse racing, as “a great gentleman.” But she said his actions “showed exactly why so many people felt isolated in the corridors of power, and left feeling they were not wanted or listened to by the male-dominated establishment.”

Patel, a former Cabinet minister, told The Sun that Johnson, 60, and the former Conservative leader David Cameron, had become “agitated” when Patel attempted to give evidence to the standards committee in October 2015.

Patel said she wanted to ask Johnson what he was doing with a report by the official watchdog into the overspending claims of fellow Cabinet ministers Michael Fallon and Chris Grayling, who were both forced to quit as a result of the investigation.

The report disclosed that Patel had not properly declared about £7,800 ($9,700) she claimed to attend an event in a Canadian mountain resort. The investigation found that the expense claim had been “unreasonably and improperly inflated.”

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