PRITI Patel’s clash with her top civil servant erupted after he warned her the Home Office will struggle to deliver major Brexit tasks in time.
Allies of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Sir Philip Rutnam say he is “concerned” by the risks of having to do so much in just ten months.
Priti Patel got into a heated argument with one of her top civil servants after he raised concerns over the Home Office’s Brexit workload
Sir Philip Rutnam’s warnings infuriated the Home Secretary, who sees him as ‘the new Philip Hammond Eeyore’
But he has infuriated Ms Patel, who sees him as “the new Philip Hammond Eeyore”, say friends.
The Home Office must come up with a new immigration system and border regime and manage a settlement scheme for 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK.
It is also planning how to work with the EU on security and crime, introducing new blue passports — and bringing in IT systems to manage it all.
It must all be done by the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, which PM Boris Johnson has refused to extend.
One senior figure said: “Philip is concerned by the risk of so much happening at once, some of which is very tricky.
“There is also the day job of counter terrorism, organised crime, policing and drugs.”
Ms Patel’s allies dubbed Sir Philip an overly cautious “old school establishment mandarin”.
A senior Home Office insider described them as “a risk manager versus a radical reformer”.
The Home Office said only that Sir Philip and Ms Patel were “focused on delivering the hugely important agenda”.
Ms Patel’s department must work with the EU on security and crime, introduce new blue passports and bring in IT systems to manage it – all by the end of the year