The Times are reporting that multiple sources within the Home Office are accusing the home secretary, Priti Patel, of “bullying and belittling” home office officials, “making unreasonable demands” and creating an “atmosphere of fear”. Apparently, the cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, raised concerns about Ms Patel’s behaviour within the Cabinet Office and is currently mediating between Ms Patel and her permanent secretary, Sir Philip Rutnam, after she tried to get him removed.
The FDA (the senior civil servants union) have weighed in on the fight and warned ministers of the potential “consequences of their behaviour”. Patel’s allies have responded by attacking Sir Rutnam, blaming him for the forced resignation of Amber Rudd over the Windrush scandal in 2018 and the “lack of accountability in the civil service”. They’re even calling for him to be sacked and denied a pension.
It’s understood that Patel has already managed to remove one senior official and another Home Office official even collapsed and had to be taken to hospital after a confrontation with Ms Patel only last week.
Sources describe Patel as rude and aggressive and have told the Times that she “frequently encourages behaviour outside the rule of law”. The feud began, they say, when Patel made a number of illegal demands. Apparently, on one occasion, she asked Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, why the police couldn’t use force against Extinction Rebellion.