Tories defend Priti Patel over claims she bullied a civil servant to point of collapse


SENIOR Tories have defended Priti Patel after she was accused of bullying civil servants to the point of collapse over the failure to deport Jamaican criminals.

The Home Secretary is said to rule her department by belittling officials, making unreasonable demands and creating an atmosphere of fear.

Priti Patel has been accused of bullying

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi has now jumped to her defence, insisting Ms Patel was “utterly professional” and “works day and night”.

Mr Zahawi told LBC: “I’ve known Priti for 25 years, she’s utterly professional, works night and day to deliver for the country and her constituents and is absolutely focused on making sure… the people voted for us to take back control of our borders.”

Pushed again on whether Ms Patel is a bully, Mr Zahawi said: “No, I don’t think she is at all.

“I’ve worked with Priti in the past on several campaigns, I’ve known her literally for 25 years, she is a brilliant, collegiate team player.”

According to the Times, Ms Patel had held a heated meeting with one senior Home Office official who later collapsed.

She is said to have confronted them after the High Court blocked the deportation of 25 foreign criminals to Jamaica.

After allegedly being berated for not defeating the law, the official later fell ill and was taken to hospital.

She is also said to have tried to boot out her permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam after he raised concerns about her behaviour.

Ms Patel is also understood to have successfully arranged for another senior official to be booted out the department.

Several sources claimed number of the explosive clashes involved demands from the home secretary, some of which were considered illegal.

This is said to include Ms Patel asking why the police could not use force against climate protesters Extinction Rebellion.

A Home Office source said: Sir Philip and [she] have fundamental disagreements about the rule of law. Hes committed and she isnt.

Shes belittled him and caused consternation, and she frequently encourages behaviour outside the rule of law.

Another said she was rude and an extraordinary person to work for.

Allies of the home secretary rejected the claims of bullying, and attacked Sir Philip.

She is said to be furious with Sir Philip Rutnam

They said: The Home Office is dysfunctional and the current permanent secretary had presided over a sacking of a home secretary and accidental deportations.

If this were any other environment Philip Rutnam would not only be sacked hed be denied a pension.

The lack of accountability in the civil service is deeply troubling and the prime minister will not accept this in the long term.

A Home Office spokesman said: We have not received any formal complaints and we take the welfare of our staff extremely seriously.