UK Government settles civil servant bullying case against Home Secretary Priti Patel

Henrietta Strickland
March 5, 2021

A former top civil servant at the UK Home Office who had launched a dismissal claim after his resignation amid bullying allegations against Home Secretary Priti Patel has settled his case with the government, the Home Office said on Thursday.

The career mandarin quit in February past year after using a live television appearance to accuse Ms Patel of "shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands". Last week, Ms Patel said that Home Office engineers were working to restore more than 400,000 police records that were accidentally deleted from a national database.

The Home Office said the government and Sir Philip had "jointly concluded that it is in both parties' best interests to reach a settlement at this stage".

The payoff means Patel and Boris Johnson will no longer face the possibility of giving evidence before a public tribunal.

"I have received excellent support during this process and I would like to express warm thanks to the FDA and to my legal team, Slater and Gordon and Gavin Mansfield QC".

'This settlement resolves my own case. The FDA is continuing to pursue in separate proceedings the wider issues that have been raised.

'I now look forward to the next stages of my career'.

At the time of the report, Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA senior civil servants' union, told the BBC that civil servants would be asking what message it would send if the government said Patel did not have to resign. 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".

Priti Patel
Government settles Sir Philip Rutnam's bullying claims against Priti Patel

Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: "Taxpayers will be appalled at having to pick up the bill for the home secretary's unacceptable behaviour".

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.

"The Home Secretary still has very serious questions to answer about her conduct and the FDA union's legal case continues".

As the sole arbiter of the rules, the prime minister stood by Patel, concluding in his view that she had not broken the ministerial code.

The report, carried out by government's independent adviser on standards, Sir Alex Allan - who subsequently resigned - has never been published.

A government spokesperson added that Rutnam was a "distinguished public servant" and paid tribute to his "devoted public service and excellent contribution" during his time in the civil servive. I am grateful, too, for the commitment and dedication with which you have approached the significant senior leadership roles you have undertaken in the course of your career, particularly as the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Transport and the Home Office.

He resigned from his post as permanent secretary at the Home Office in February 2020 to pursue the allegations of bullying against the home secretary.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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