Priti Patel criticises ‘false allegations’ amid claims of bullying and distrust
Home Secretary Priti Patel has expressed her concern at “false allegations” she says are being made about her amid claims of bullying and distrust from intelligence chiefs.
Her department was not commenting on whether she was demanding a leak inquiry, but said in a statement that she was “deeply concerned” about accusations being reported.
The Government on Sunday moved to strongly deny claims that MI5 chiefs do not trust her and were limiting intelligence sharing.
The latest allegation came after she was accused of bullying officials and creating an “atmosphere of fear” at the department, which allies denied.
And it emerged last week that she had tried to move permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam from her department after they had a series of rows.
On Sunday, a Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary and permanent secretary are deeply concerned about the number of false allegations appearing in the media.
“They are focused on delivering on the Home Office’s hugely important agenda, which includes creating an immigration system that works for the UK, putting more police on the streets and keeping the public safe from terrorism.”
The security services were dragged into the row when the Sunday Times reported officials alleging intelligence chiefs do “not trust” her and have decided to share less intelligence with her.
A Government spokesman responded: “The Home Secretary and MI5 have a strong and close working relationship, and baseless claims to the contrary are both wrong and against the public interest.
“The Home Secretary receives the same daily intelligence briefings as her predecessors, and no information is being withheld.”
The Times reported that a livid Ms Patel asked the Cabinet Office’s director-general of propriety and ethics, Helen MacNamara, to carry out a formal leak inquiry.
But the paper said Ms MacNamara has so far blocked the attempt.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis was warning against the creation of “hit lists” for civil service staff.
His comments followed suggestions that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings want to replace a number of officials as part of a Whitehall shake-up.
Speaking on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Davis suggested the current issues in the civil service would not be resolved via a “firing squad”.