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PRITI PATEL has been accused of bullying behaviour over the last five years in her roles within three government departments.
It emerged that the home secretary sought to remove one of the Home Office’s senior mandarins, Sir Philip Rutnam, after they had a series of disagreements about the rule of law. He had raised the concerns with the Cabinet Office, according to the Times.
It was also reported in the newspaper that she had been accused of belittling officials, sending “aggressive” emails, making unreasonable demands and creating an “atmosphere of fear.”
Complaints have been made against her as far back as 2015 when she was an employment minister, as well as 2017 when a grievance complaint was made to Downing Street by a Department of International Development official who was signed off sick with stress.
A senior figure in the department said that Ms Patel was “reviled” for her “rudeness and insensitivity” when she was international development secretary.
Last week a senior official collapsed and was taken to hospital after a meeting with Ms Patel after having worked overnight to reverse a High Court ruling barring the deportation of 25 foreign criminals to Jamaica.
At a meeting the following morning he was confronted by her demanding to know why the department had failed to reverse the ruling, the Times reported.
Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union which represents senior civil servants, warned that ministers must recognise the consequences of their behaviour.
He said that the FDA’s latest survey showed that 70 per cent of Home Office officials felt working excess hours “is a problem,” with the same proportion stating that they had worked while on sick leave in the last year.
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