Indian-origin COP26 president denies ‘bullying’ civil servants
Denying accusations of “bullying” civil servants, Indian-origin COP26 president and UK’s former Business Secretary Alok Sharma said he was never made aware of any informal complaints or otherwise from the staff, media reports said.
London: Denying accusations of “bullying” civil servants, Indian-origin COP26 president and UK’s former Business Secretary Alok Sharma said he was never made aware of any informal complaints or otherwise from the staff, media reports said.
According to a Bloomberg report, four senior officials had accused Sharma of being “difficult, unpredictable and quick to lose his temper”, which included berating, using profanities, and reducing a junior official to tears.
Of the four staff members, who worked alongside Sharma between 2020 and 2022, two said that during the pandemic he would contact junior civil servants on Microsoft Teams to criticise their work.
Concerns were raised with senior managers about Sharma’s behaviour on at least four occasions in 2020, but no formal complaints were made, the staff claimed.
One of them told Bloomberg that he had resorted to antidepressants and mental-health support to cope with the pressure of working under the minister.
In response to the reports, Sharma told Bloomberg: “I have never been made aware of any ainformal complaints’ or otherwise from staff. The Cabinet Office has confirmed that there are no records of any informal or formal complaints across government about me. I refute strongly these allegations.
“I have worked with hundreds of officials as a government minister and always felt I maintained a good relationship with them, exemplified by seven of my (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) private office team, those officials working most closely with me, choosing to join my (COP26) private office alongside those I had worked with in previous ministerial roles.”
The report on Sharma’s bullying claims came days before Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned from the government on Friday after an independent report found he had bullied officials.
Agra-born Sharma, who moved to the UK when he just five years old, was honoured by King Charles III last year for his contribution to combating climate change through his role as the President of 26th UN Climate Change Conference.
Indian-origin COP26 president denies ‘bullying’ civil servants.