The Speaker
Thursday, 18 July 2024 – 18:24

Top civil servant quits Home Office over dispute with Priti Patel

The Home Office’s top civil servant, Sir Philip Rutnam has resigned and is threatening to sue the government. 

Mr Rutnam resigned on Saturday, saying he had ‘been the target of a vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign.’ He has said he plans to pursue a claim against the government for constructive dismissal – whereby an employer has committed a serious breach of contract, entitling the employee to resign.

In a statement published by the BBC, Mr Rutnam said “I have this morning resigned as permanent secretary of the Home Office. “I take this decision with great regret after a career of 33 years.” He added, “It has been alleged that I have briefed the media against the home secretary. This — along with many other claims — is completely false.”

The departure of Mr Rutnam comes following reports of severe tensions between Mr Rutnam and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary. Sir Philip said that it was his duty to “protect the health, safety and wellbeing” of 35,000 Home Office workers, but his work had created tensions between him and the Home Secretary. He said that he had received allegations that Ms Patel’s conduct towards employees at the government department had at times involved “swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands”.

The head of the civil service, Sir Mark Sewill said he had received the resignation “with great regret”. According to Mr Rutnam, he was offered a financial settlement to avoid his current situation, however, he turned this down.

At the time of publication, no comment had been made by Priti Patel regarding the situation.


Photo Credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development via Flickr under licence (CC BY 2.0)

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