Priti Patel accused of ‘vicious and orchestrated’ campaign as top civil servant resigns after row
- Credit: PA
Witham MP and home secretary Priti Patel has become embroiled in a row with her top civil servant after he resigned, accusing her of organising a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” against him.
Sir Philip Rutnam, permanent secretary at the Home Office, resigned after reports of a rift between the two started to appear last weekend.
In a statement outside his North London home, he launched a verbal attack on the politician - who has represented Witham in parliament since 2010.
He said he had tried to reconcile his differences with Ms Patel following the allegations she had orchestrated a briefing campaign against him, but claimed she "made no effort to engage with me to discuss this".
Ms Patel has not yet responded to the Sir Philip's comments. Sir Philip says he is going to sue the government for constructive, unfair dismissal.
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In a statement released by his lawyers, Sir Philip said: "The home secretary categorically denied any involvement in this campaign to the Cabinet Office.
"I regret I do not believe her. She has not made the effort I would expect to dissociate herself from the comments.
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"Even despite this campaign I was willing to effect a reconciliation with the home secretary.
"But despite my efforts to engage with her, Priti Patel has made no effort to engage with me to discuss this.
"I believe these events give me very strong grounds to claim constructive, unfair dismissal and I will be pursuing that claim in the courts."
He said he took the decision to quit "with great regret after a career of 33 years".