2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appSir Philip Rutnam’s extraordinary resignation speech, singling out Priti Patel comes after weeks of acrimony between the Home Office’s most senior civil servant and the Home Secretary.
Claiming a “vicious and orchestrated” campaign had been waged against him by Ms Patel’s office, Sir Philip’s intention to claim against the government for constructive dismissal suggests that his career spanning 33 years had never encountered such problems.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appAnd yet amid claims that Ms Patel, 47, mistreated officials - which she has repeatedly denied - sources close to her predecessor Amber Rudd point out that Sir Philip, 54, did have “a remarkable ability to rub Home Secretaries up the wrong way.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appAs one source close to Ms Rudd, who was Home Secretary for almost two years from July 2016 and stood down as an MP at the general election put it: “If you are able to antagonise someone like Amber on one side and then Priti on the other then that really is quite an achievement.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appArch remainer Ms Rudd was famously considered too “left wing” for the government, while Ms Patel’s strong line on law and order, which once saw her advocate bringing back the death penalty, is regarded as a staunch right winger.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appDescribing Sir Philip as “quite cunning” and at times “purposefully opaque”, the source said Ms Rudd still blamed him for failing to provide her with the right data on the Windrush deportation scandal, which saw her resign as Home Secretary in April 2018. “She repeatedly asked for the information but it was never forthcoming. Then suddenly a week after she resigned, the data was made available. The whole thing was very odd.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appWhile sources close to Ms Patel deny Sir Philip’s claims that her conduct towards employees included "shouting and swearing" and "belittling people", they admit she is “not backwards in coming forwards” when it comes to running arguably the most difficult department in government.
“Priti is someone who doesn’t mince her words and makes it clear what she wants,” said one. “If you haven’t done what she has asked of you then she tells you in no uncertain terms - but she certainly isn’t a bully.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIt is thought that Ms Patel’s somewhat forthright manner may have been at odds with Sir Philip’s style - described by one Home Office insider as “a bit Sir Humphrey-ish, sneaky and a little snivelling.” The insider added: “He seemed to think Priti was stupid and treated her as such. Suffice to say it didn’t go down well.”
The resignation follows more than a week of reports about rows between Sir Philip and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, with allies claiming that he had attempted to block announcements, thwart staff moves and undermine her in Cabinet.
Last week The Sunday Telegraph2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app revealed that the mandarin was on a "s---list" of permanent secretaries Number 10 wanted replaced over claims that they are significantly at odds with Conservative ministers and advisers, who have been buoyed by Mr Johnson's landslide election win in December.
As a staunch Brexiteer, Ms Patel has the support of both Boris Johnson and his closest adviser Dominic Cummings although as one Number 10 insider pointed out: “She has their support now, but she is going to be responsible for the biggest reform of our immigration policy since the Second World War. If something goes wrong then she will be very vulnerable. There is a sense that Sir Philip’s resignation has been designed to leave her that little more exposed.”
There is also the small matter of the review into the Windrush deportation scandal to consider. Sir Philip’s hasty exit means that Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, looks set to face more intense scrutiny as permanent secretary to the Home Office under Theresa May from February 2013.
As Sir Philip’s predecessor, the blame for the wrongful detention and threatened deportation of at least 83 British subjects who arrived in the UK before 1973, particularly from Caribbean countries as members of the “Windrush generation” could lay at his door.
Allies of Sir Philip said a factor in his decision had been the refusal of Mr Johnson's official spokesman to endorse the Home Office mandarin on Monday despite saying the Prime Minister had "full confidence" in the Home Secretary.
Asked to offer the same endorsement to Sir Philip, the spokesman simply said: "The Prime Minister has full confidence in the civil service."
A day earlier Ms Patel had faced claims that she was distrusted by intelligence chiefs. In an email to Whitehall staff, Sir Mark said "candour, confidentiality and courtesy" between ministers, civil servants and special advisers were "crucial to the trust and confidence on which good government depends".
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appTheresa Villiers, the former Environment Secretary, said she was "sick of spiteful briefings against women in high public office", calling Ms Patel a "highly effective home secretary".
Yesterday Sir Mark, who is the head of the civil service, thanked Sir Philip for his "long and dedicated career of public service" and said Shona Dunn will become acting permanent secretary.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBut to allies of Sir Philip, the Cabinet Secretary's remarks were too little, too late.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appA senior official said civil servants were concerned that Sir Mark had "gone native", having failed to issue his own public statement backing Sir Philip.
The official said: "Who is going to be next on the hit list? If you challenge ministers, as you are supposed to do as a civil servant or Permanent Secretary, who is the response going to be to [a subsequent] briefing war to try to get you out?
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app"I don't know if Mark is trying [to support civil servants] and not getting anywhere or whether he hasn't been trying."
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appSir Philip’s bombshell comes after he and Ms Patel released a joint statement saying they were "deeply concerned" by various "false allegations" made about Ms Patel.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appAnother Home Office insider questioned the timing of his “dramatic” and “unprecedented” televised address, saying: “He’s certainly a shrewd media operator if he is able to get straight onto the news just as the Sunday papers are going to press. I’m not sure anyone saw that one coming.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appSir Philip has said he intended to issue a claim against the Home Office for constructive dismissal - but any tribunal is likely not only to lay bare the truth of his relationship with Ms Patel - but also her predecessor.