Civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam launches unfair dismissal claim against Home Secretary Priti Patel weeks after quitting and accusing her of bullying
- Sir Philip Rutnam is taking the Home Secretary to an employment tribunal
- He accuses her of unfair dismissal and claiming he was a whistleblower
- Raises prospect of Ms Patel having to give evidence about her leadership
A senior civil servant who quit the Home Office with a broadside against Priti Patel launched official legal action against her today.
Sir Philip Rutnam is taking the Home Secretary to an employment tribunal accusing her of unfair dismissal and claiming he should have been protected as a whistleblower.
His resignation as permanent secretary in Ms Patel’s under-pressure department sparked a furious row and an official inquiry into her behaviour in Government.
The move raises the prospect of one of the Government’s most senior ministers having to give evidence in a civil case about her handling of the department.
This morning Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA civil service union, confirmed legal proceedings had been launched.
‘This morning, 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,’ he said.
Sir Philip Rutnam is taking the Home Secretary to an employment tribunal accusing her of unfair dismissal and claiming he should have been protected as a whistleblower
His resignation as permanent secretary in Ms Patel’s under-pressure department sparked a furious row and an official inquiry into her behaviour in Government
Sir Philip, who branded Miss Patel a liar and a bully, walked out at the end of February.
In a bombshell resignation statement, which he read live on television, he accused Miss Patel, 47, of ‘shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands’.
He accused Ms Patel of orchestrating a ‘vicious’ campaign against him, of lying about her involvement in it and of creating a climate of fear in her department.
It prompted an avalanche of claims against Boris Johnson’s highest ranking female minister, all of which she denies.
It also sparked calls from opposition MPs and the senior public servants’ trade union for the Prime Minister to put a stop to what they claim is a campaign by his chief adviser Dominic Cummings to undermine the civil service.
Claims against Ms Patel include the allegation she ‘dressed down’ staff in front of their colleagues and asked: ‘Why is everyone so f***ing useless?’
The news of the latest move in Sir Philip’s legal case comes as the Cabinet Office is expected to conclude an inquiry into claims that the minister clashed with senior officials and belittled colleagues.
Boris Johnson asked the Cabinet Office in March to ‘establish the facts’ following allegations that Ms Patel had breached the ministerial code in relation to her dealings with several officials.
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