The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the bullying allegations that have surfaced against Home Secretary Priti Patel towards her former permanent secretary in the Home Office Sir Philip Rutnam.
Boris Johnson has now called on the Cabinet Office to begin a probe into the bullying allegations. The Home Office’s most senior civil servant resigned from his position over the weekend and is to sue for constructive dismissal.
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Nearly 100 people who have worked with Priti Patel have launched a public defence of the home secretary as she faces bullying allegations.
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, the group claimed Ms Patel has been the victim of “an extraordinary campaign of gossip and smears, conducted by anonymous individuals via secret briefings and innuendo”.
Among the 92 signatories to the letter were ex-Charity Commission chair William Shawcross, Conservative Party election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby, Hindu Forum of Britain president Trupti Patel and Tory peer Lord Suri, who was previously general secretary of the Board of British Sikhs.
The group said they have all worked for Ms Patel “either formally or informally… or been involved in campaigning with and for her” often at times when the Conservative minister has been “at times of stress and high emotion”.
“We do not recognise the picture that has been painted of her this week,” they wrote.
“She is certainly 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, but is always professional.
Priti Patel: Johnson backs ‘fantastic’ home secretary after bullying claims
“She gives her all for this country and deserves far better treatment than she has received.
“Those of us who have been employed by her at difficult times in our lives – during illness, a personal crisis or bereavement – also know how caring and compassionate she can be.”
A Cabinet Office investigation has been launched to “establish the facts” amid numerous claims against Ms Patel.
The home secretary has been under pressure since Sir Philip Rutnam, the Home Office’s top civil servant, quit and vowed to sue the government for constructive dismissal.
He also said he had heard claims of Ms Patel “shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands”.
There have also been other claims about Ms Patel from her time in other government departments.
Ms Patel rejects all the allegations against her and has been given fulsome support by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has said he will “stick with Prit”, as well as other leading Tories.
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In their letter, the group of 92 said they were “shocked” by the “campaign” against Ms Patel, as she tries to “turn around” the “notoriously dysfunctional” Home Office.
They added: “It is surely wrong that anyone can be publicly traduced on the basis of malicious rumours spread by people who refuse to reveal their identities or even provide verifiable facts.
“All the more so when those like us, who know and have worked with her, say that the picture being painted is utterly false.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.