Ex-MI5 chief says Boris Johnson should publish report into Priti Patel bullying claims after her top civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam resigned
- Lord Evans believes Boris Johnson should publish investigation into Priti Patel
- Ms Patel was investigated by Cabinet Office over claims of bullying of officials
- Topp civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam resigned earlier this year amid the row
Lord Evans of Weardale, the former head of MI5 and the PM’s current adviser on standards in public life believes the PM should publish the results of the investigation into the home secretary.
Ms Patel was investigated by the Cabinet Office over claims she had bullied civil servants in the Home Office, as well as in previous departments she had worked in.
However, the results of the investigation have yet to be made public.
Ms Patel’s top civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam resigned earlier this year and claimed there had been a ‘vicious and orchestrated’ campaign against him, blasting the Home Secretary.
Priti Patel was investigated by the Cabinet Office over claims she had bullied civil servants in the Home Office, as well as in previous departments she had worked in
After persistent reports of a major rift between them, the 33-year civil service veteran walked out with all guns blazing, launching a withering attack on Ms Patel.
He accused her of lying and said he had received allegations that she had shouted and sworn at staff.
The former official said he was the victim of a ‘briefing campaign’ and that in choosing to publicly resign he had turned down a ‘financial settlement’ from the Cabinet Office.
The official had himself been accused of briefing against the Home Secretary in the media but said this claim was ‘completely false’.
Staff also allegedly accused the Home Secretary of bullying and belittling officials in meetings at the Home Office.
They also complained she has made unreasonable demands and created an ‘atmosphere of fear’.
More than eight months after the inquiry into Ms Patel began, the report is yet to be published.
In an interview with The Times, Lord Evans has now said the delay could give the impression that the allegations had been ‘brushed over’.
Ms Patel’s top civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam resigned earlier this year and claimed there had been a ‘vicious and orchestrated’ campaign against him, blasting the Home Secretary
He also revealed that he had concerns over the failure to carry out an independent investigation into Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary.
Jenrick came under fire in June after he was accused of overruling planning inspectors to approve a development championed by Sir Richard Desmond.
Lord Evans said: ‘When you have got these allegations that have not really been put to bed then it’s easy to say they’ve just been brushed over and I don’t think that’s ideal for public trust and public standards.
‘The Priti Patel case would be an example. The Cabinet Office has done some form of investigation. It has not been published so it is very difficult to know whether there was something here or whether there wasn’t.
‘The same applies in the allegations regarding Robert Jenrick. The decision was taken that those did not need to be further investigated. I am not calling what the facts are because I don’t know, but nor does anybody else, because there hasn’t been an investigation.’
Sir Philip’s resignation came after weeks of barbs aimed at Ms Patel’s management of the Home Office and a damaging rift between the official and Home Secretary.
It was claimed that Ms Patel told Sir Philip to get rid of a senior official on Christmas Eve but the top mandarin refused.
Sir Philip said in his statement that his experience was ‘extreme’ and part of a ‘wider pattern’ in Government.
He told reporters: ‘In the last ten days I have been the target of a vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign.
‘It has been alleged that I have briefed the media against the Home Secretary.
‘This along with many other claims is completely false.
‘The Home Secretary categorically denied any involvement in this campaign to the Cabinet Office.
‘I regret, I do not believe her. She has not made the effort I would expect to dissociate herself from the comments,’ he added.