Priti Patel: Former top civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam launches legal action against home secretary

A former top civil servant who quit his post amid bullying allegations against Priti Patel has formally launched legal action against the home secretary.

Sir Philip Rutnam, who was permanent secretary at the Home Office at the time of his resignation, is claiming “constructive dismissal”.

When he announced his resignation in February, Sir Philip claimed he had been the target of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” which he accused the home secretary of orchestrating.

He also said he had heard claims of Ms Patel “shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands”.

Subsequent claims about Ms Patel from her time in other government departments later emerged.

But supporters of the home secretary rallied round and said she was the victim of a smear campaign, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he backed her.

Ms Patel rejects all claims of bullying that have been made against her.

Civil servants’ union the FDA confirmed that Sir Philip’s claim was submitted to an employment tribunal on Monday morning.

Its general secretary Dave Penman said: “On 29 February 2020, Sir Philip Rutnam resigned as permanent secretary of the Home Office, indicating that he intended to pursue a claim of constructive dismissal.

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