Now Dominic Cummings’ aristocratic father-in-law wades into defend Priti Patel amid ‘bulling row’


Humphry Wakefield accused mandarins who have squared up to Home Secretary Priti Patel of acting to protect their ‘relaxed life’

The father-in-law of Boris Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings made an astonishing intervention in the Home Office bullying row today.

Sir Humphry Tyrrell Wakefield, owner of Chillingham Castle and friend of Prince Philip, accused mandarins who have squared up to Home Secretary Priti Patel of acting to protect their ‘relaxed life’.

The aristocratic interior designer and antiques expert, 83, used a letter sent from his 13th century Northumberland castle to attack ‘relaxed disciplines’ in offices whose fans paint any attempt at changing the environment as bullying.

It came as two senior civil servants were forced out of the Home Office after clashing with Ms Patel, 47, as the row at the heart of the department showed no sign of abating.

In a missive to the Times from his home the baronet said: ‘I have worked in many long established offices around the world. Almost invariably, relaxed disciplines have become the norm. 

‘I have found it near impossible to change old habits without appearing to ”bully”.

‘Throwing chilling water on attempted inspiration is a special skill of department leaders whose relaxed life is under threat.’

Sir Humphry is the father of Mr Cummings wife, the journalist Mary Wakefield. The couple married in 2011 and have one child together.

She received support from an unlikely corner this morning - the aristocratic father-in-law of Boris Johnson's chief aide, Dominic Cummings (pictured today)

She received support from an unlikely corner this morning – the aristocratic father-in-law of Boris Johnson’s chief aide, Dominic Cummings (pictured today)

Sir Humphry's letter in the Times today

Sir Humphry’s letter in the Times today

Ms Patel is at the heart of a furious row over her treatment of staff in the department, which she has been in charge of since July

Ms Patel is at the heart of a furious row over her treatment of staff in the department, which she has been in charge of since July

He is a friend of the Duke of Edinburgh, an antiques expert and keen horseman even at his advanced age.

In 2017 he set out to ride his horse, Barack, the length of the British Isles at the age of 81.

At the time he spoke of his love for the castle – dubbed the most haunted in Britain –  saying: ‘I love it — love it like mad.

‘And the smell! It’s like returning to a stable when you haven’t seen your horse for a bit.’ 

Next Page