Priti Patel allies mount fightback after slew of bullying allegations saying Home Secretary has ‘never crossed a line’ on treatment of colleagues
- Home Secretary Priti Patel has been facing a slew of bullying allegations
- Allies of the minister insist she has ‘never crossed a line’ despite pressure
- Ms Patel denies all the claims against her, which relate to three departments
Priti Patel’s allies mounted a fightback today after a slew of bullying allegations left her political future hanging in the balance.
A letter signed by nearly 100 supporters claims the Home Secretary has ‘never crossed a line’ even in situations where she was under ‘extreme pressure’.
The backers – including former Charity Commission chief William Shawcross and Tory election guru Sir Lynton Crosby – praise her determination to ‘ask tough questions’ of officials.
‘We do not recognise the picture that has been painted of her this week,’ they said.
‘There’s no argument that she is a tough, assertive and effective leader, but even under extreme pressure she has never crossed a line or lost her temper.
‘She expects high standards, as a strong leader should, but is always professional. She gives her all for this country and deserves far better treatment than she has received.’
A letter signed by nearly 100 supporters claims Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured with Boris Johnson at PMQs this week) has ‘never crossed a line’ even in situations where she was under ‘extreme pressure’
The top civil servant at the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam (pictured), dramatically resigned at the weekend accusing Ms Patel of a ‘vicious and orchestrated campaign’ against him
Claim: The Home Secretary bullied and belittled staff, creating an ‘atmosphere of fear’.
Counter-claim: Allies of Ms Patel dismissed the suggestions she was a bully. Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said Ms Patel is ‘utterly professional’ and a ‘collegiate team player’.
Claim: Ms Patel was alleged to have ‘dressed down’ staff in front of their colleagues, sent ‘aggressive’ emails in the middle of the night and asked ‘why is everyone so f***ing useless’ during previous ministerial roles.
Counter-claim: Allies of the Home Secretary dismissed the allegations as ‘malicious gossip’.
Claim: Ms Patel was cut out of security briefings by MI5 and officials were not sharing as much intelligence with her as they did with her predecessors.
Counter-claim: The Home Secretary was reportedly ‘livid’ at the suggestions. Security sources said reports they did not have a ‘strong working relationship are simply untrue’.
Claim: Ms Patel tried to remove permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam from the Home Office.
Counter-claim: The Home Office has not been drawn on any of the specific claims relating to relations between Ms Patel and Sir Philip. However, the department issued a joint statement saying ‘the Home Secretary and Permanent Secretary are deeply concerned about the number of false allegations appearing in the media’.
Boris Johnson has said he is ‘sticking by’ Ms Patel after allegations emerged about her treatment of officials in three separate Government departments during her ministerial career.
But the PM has ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into the claims – all of which Ms Patel denies.
The allegations include that there were a ‘tsunami’ of abuse complaints by officials against Ms Patel at the Department for International Development.
She has been accused of throwing a folder at an aide, and ‘belittling’ members of staff.
Ms Patel was alleged to have ‘dressed down’ staff in front of their colleagues, sent ‘aggressive’ emails in the middle of the night and asked ‘why is everyone so f***ing useless’ during previous ministerial roles.
A former aide at the Department for Work and Pensions was reported to have received a £25,000 payout from the Government, having said she was bullied by Ms Patel when she was employment minister.
The top civil servant at the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, dramatically resigned at the weekend accusing Ms Patel of a ‘vicious and orchestrated campaign’ against him abuses and saying he plans to sue for contructive dismissal.
Amid a furious briefing war before Sir Philip walked out, there were claims Ms Patel was cut out of security briefings by MI5 and officials were not sharing as much intelligence with her as they did with her predecessors.
In a highly unusual step, the security sources responded by letting it be known reports they did not have a ‘strong working relationship’ with the Home Secretary were ‘simply untrue’.
The signatories of the letter to the Telegraph also include Tory peers Lords Rami, Suri and Leigh.
A spokesman for Ms Patel said: ‘The Home Secretary categorically denies all of these allegations.’
Who is Sir Philip Rutnam, the Whitehall mandarin who quit launching attack on Priti Patel?
Sir Philip Rutnam was one of the most senior civil servants in Whitehall.
He joined the Home Office as permanent secretary – the top civil servant role in each department – in April 2017 having previously done the same job at the Department for Transport for five years.
Sir Philip Rutnam’s time at the Home Office has proved to be controversial because he was in post during the Windrush scandal.
He faced calls in November 2018 to resign over it with Tory London mayor candidate Shaun Bailey claiming the mandarin needed to step down to ‘restore confidence’ in the Home Office.
Amber Rudd resigned as home secretary in April 2018 because of the controversy which saw some migrants from Commonwealth countries who came to the UK from the late 1970s to 1973 being wrongly declared illegal immigrants.
An official report examining what went wrong found that Ms Rudd had been let down by her officials.
However, it stopped short of criticising Sir Philip.
Source: Read Full Article