THE former Home Office chief Sir Philip Rutman has launched a claim for unfair dismissal against Priti Patel.
The ex-Permanent Secretary quit the job in February amid allegations that he had been bullied by the Home Secretary Ms Patel.
He announced yesterday that he’s taking her to court using whistleblower protection laws – meaning there will be no upper limit to the cash he could be paid out.
It is the thought to be the first case of a Permanent Secretary suing a Secretary of State.
In a statement, FDA General Secretary, Dave Penman which represents civil servants said: “Sir Philip, with the support of his legal team and the FDA, submitted a claim to the employment tribunal for unfair (constructive) dismissal and whistleblowing against the Home Secretary.
“Sir Philip will not be making any further comment at this time.” His claim is expected to focus on Ms Patel’s treatment of senior civil servants in the Home Office amid allegations of rampant bullying — which she has always furiously denied.
It was previously reported that a senior Home Office official collapsed after a meeting with the Home Secretary and another is said to have asked to move jobs to avoid dealing with her.
The Cabinet Office is currently investigating the bullying claims, which is being led by Sir Alex Allan, but no date has been set to publish its findings, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson can opt to overrule his findings and keep them private.
After the allegations emerged Sir Philip wrote to all senior civil servants in the department highlighting the dangers of workplace stress.
The Prime Minister has always said he has “full confidence” in Ms Patel and her work.
Sir Philip resigned at the end of February, reading a statement outside his home in which he said: “I have been the target of a vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign.”
He added: “My experience was extreme, but consider that it was part of a wider pattern of behaviour.” If the case goes to an employment tribunal, it could be very embarrassing for Ms Patel and No10.
Special Advisers and senior government officials would have to give evidence and inner workings behind the scenes at the Home Office would be unveiled.
Yesterday the Cabinet Office said it would not comment on legal proceedings.