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Former Home Office chief Sir Philip Rutnam starts legal action after Priti Patel bullying row

Former Home Office chief Sir Philip Rutnam starts legal action after Priti Patel bullying row

Priti Patel has denied all the allegations made by Sir Philip Rutnam (PA)

2 min read

The former Home Office chief at the centre of the Priti Patel bullying row has begun legal proceedings against the Government.

The FDA union, which is representing Sir Philip Rutnam, confirmed the ex-permanent secretary had submitted an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal on Monday.

The veteran mandarin rocked Whitehall in February when he quit his post alleging he had been the victim of "a vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign" by allies of the Home Secretary.

Sir Philip accused Ms Patel of failing to "disassociate herself" from media attacks on him, and of bullying senior staff in the department.

The senior minister has rejected "all allegations" made against her, and the Cabinet Office has since launched an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the affair.

In a statement, FDA general secretary Dave Penman said: “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.

“Sir Philip will not be making any further comment at this time.”

At the time of his resignation, Sir Philip said: “One of my duties as Permanent Secretary was to protect the health, safety and well-being of our 35,000 people.

"This created tension with the Home Secretary, and I have encouraged her to change her behaviours.

“I have received allegations that her conduct has included shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands - behaviour that created fear and that needed some bravery to call out.”

A government spokesperson said: “We do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”

Matthew Rycroft, the former permanent secretary of the Department for International Development, has since been appointed to head up the Home Office, with Ms Patel saying the new top mandarin would bring “a wealth of leadership experience and a strong understanding of the security challenges we face”.

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