Fresh Home Office staff row as it is claimed Priti Patel ‘told permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam to sack a senior official on Christmas Eve and he refused’ as top mandarin makes public joke about rift
Priti Patel said to have clashed with Sir Philip Rutnam over bid to oust top officialHome Secretary allegedly told Sir Philip to remove director of communications Sir Philip is said to have refused to obey the order because it was Christmas EveClaims come as Sir Philip made public joke about rift with the Home Secretary
Priti Patel told Home Office permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam to get rid of a senior department official on Christmas Eve but the top mandarin refused, it was claimed today.
Ms Patel is said to have instructed Sir Philip to move director of communications Andy Tighe out of the department.
But Sir Philip allegedly declined to carry out the order due to the timing of the request with Mr Tighe, a former BBC journalist, later choosing to retire from the role.
The incident, reported by the Huff Post website, is thought to have been one of the main drivers behind the apparent deterioration in the relationship between Ms Patel and Sir Philip.
Ms Patel has reportedly tried to get rid of Sir Philip from his position as the department’s top civil servant while the Home Secretary has faced allegations of bullying and belittling staff – accusations her allies have rejected.
Sir Philip today appeared to make light of the Home Office war as he made a rare public appearance.
Priti Patel, pictured at the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners joint summit in Westminster yesterday, is alleged to have tried to oust a senior Home Office official on Christmas Eve
Sir Philip Rutnam, pictured at the same police summit yesterday, is alleged to have refused to obey the order because of its timing
He remained tight-lipped on the alleged rift with Ms Patel but did prompt laughter during his address to the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners summit in Westminster as he spoke about his increased public profile.
He said: ‘You probably have already heard a great deal more about permanent secretary’s in the last few days than you ever expected to.
‘But be reassured, I am not got to talk about that. I am going to talk about what really matters, which is cutting crime and building a law enforcement system that is more capable, more resilient and better placed for the future.’
The reported Christmas Eve showdown comes after it was revealed that two senior civil servants have been forced out of the Home Office after clashing with Ms Patel.
A top official working in police oversight transferred to the Department of Transport and a member of the Home Secretary’s private office left their post in recent weeks, the Times reported.
Ms Patel and Sir Philip released a joint statement in recent days to deny reports of a split at the top of the department.