Guido understands the Home Secretary is currently on a conference call with thirty Tory MPs demanding answers to the migrant situation in the channel as reported by Guido this morning. Guido hears she is being ‘pretty robust’ about how unacceptable the situation is to her. She is also arguing that while the UK remains in the EU’s transition period, this problem cannot be effectively tackled…
A Home Office source tells Guido that “most of the MPs” Priti is talking to are onboard with what she’s saying, and that there are no raised voices.
While Priti tries to placate her party over the situation, Guido has spoken with the Home Office regarding the questions he posed this morning. The answers and explanations from the Home Office are summarised below:
Is the Home Secretary Priti Patel aware of what the border force is doing?
Has this collaboration been given Ministerial approval?
Is the French Navy not in breach of EU directives and/or law?
Is this the official or unofficial policy of the French government?
Guido asked why it was the case that the Australians were able to turn back boats uninvited. They do it by breaking international law. It upsets the UN and embroils the Australian Government in a lot of legal trouble with powerful interest groups, it works though…
Another raft of allegations against Priti Patel came out last night from the Sun and Newsnight, including from her time at the Department for International Development; with the Times claiming successive permanent secretaries at the department were aware of allegations. So why did they sit on the allegations for three years?…
These anonymous briefings from disgruntled civil servants came after Patel tried restoring harmony at the Home Office with an email, calling on the department to “come together as one team” and she “deeply cared” about the “well being” of her civil servants. It seems a small concerted group don’t want harmony…
It took a while for Patel’s allies to finally fight back – also anonymously of course. Speaking to Nicholas Watt, a Tory Party source said:
“What we are seeing is a concerted effort by certain sections of the civil service to undermine a home secretary trying to deliver what people want on crime and immigration. It is deeply disturbing that dark forces are trying to influence the findings of a Cabinet Office inquiry.”
The string also unravelled for one of the anti-Patel allegations of bullying, as it emerged one of those claiming to have been bullied out of the DWP when Priti was Employment Minister was already in the process of quitting when she took over, and the accusations of bullying were made against the department – not the minister.
Sebastian Payne reports the ally – presumably from the DWP – making the point:
“It’s actually very serious that a civil servant had mental health issues and attempted to take her own life because of the way she was treated at work by her Civil Service colleagues. And it’s childish and stupid for anonymous friends of Philip Rutnam to push around false stories about Civil Service mistakes which she had nothing to do with.”
Will anybody besides Liam Fox be brave enough to go on the record at some point?
Philip Rutnam, the Home Office permanent secretary, has quit saying he has been target of a “viscious and orchestrated campaign against him”. Apparently Rutnam plans to sue the government for constructive dismissal and says what has happened is part of wider pattern in government. He’s right about the latter, they’re trying to get rid of dead wood.
His career hasn’t exactly been marked by starry success, a few more of these obstructive civil servants should go pour encourager les autres to get with the programme. He should have been fired a long time ago…
“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. I’m making the statement now because I will be issuing a claim against the Home Office for constructive dismissal. In the last ten days, I had 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 efforts I would expect to disassociate herself from the comments. Even despite this campaign, I was willing to effect a reconciliation with the Home Secretary, as requested by the Cabinet Secretary on behalf of the Prime Minister. But despite my efforts to engage with her, Priti Patel has made no effort to engage with me to discuss this. I believe that these events give me very strong grounds to claim constructive, unfair dismissal, and I will be pursuing that claim in the courts. My experience has been extreme, but I consider there is evidence that it was part of a wider pattern of behaviour.
One of my duties as Permanent Secretary was to protect the health, safety and well-being of our 35,000 people. This created tension with the Home Secretary, and I have encouraged her to change her behaviours. I have received allegations that her conduct has included shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands, behaviour that created fear and needed some bravery to call out. I know that resigning in this way will have very serious implications for me personally. The Cabinet Office offered me a financial settlement that would have avoided this outcome. I am also aware that there will continue to be briefing against me now I have made this decision. But I am hopeful that at least it may not now be directed towards my colleagues or the department. This has been a very difficult decision, but I hope that my stand may help in maintaining the quality of government in our country, which includes hundreds of thousands of civil servants loyally dedicated to delivering this government’s agenda. I will make no further comment at this stage.“
So why did the Cabinet Secretary have to remind civil servants about briefing against ministers? Who was briefing against the Home Secretary in a manner sympathetic to Rutnam, the permanent secretary?
The Home Office’s diversity unit is already twenty people strong, yet they are advertising for another £70,000 to £80,000 diversity and inclusion reform director. It will be the successful hire’s role to “actively promote an inclusive culture where everyone can fulfil their potential”. Guido wonders when Sir Philip Rutnam, the current Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, will fufil his potential.
The advert comes in the midst of briefing about the Home Secretary’s behaviour, accusing her of being a ‘bully’ and ‘intimidating’. Bullying in Whitehall is not seemingly constrained to the Home Office, with another advert put up last week by the Cabinet Office for a ‘Special Adviser’s HR Policy Lead’.
Reports linked this advert to Dominic Cummings’s ‘unkind’ treatment to SpAds. The PM’s Spokesman claimed it’s the result of a review launched in December 2018….
Extinction Rebellion’s all white, all middle class protesting vandals are finally being arrested. They look delighted.
Police unimpressed with the prospect of getting muddy. It’s a dirty job…
A large number of armed police and motorbike outriders have appeared outside the Home Office. Armed police have now cordoned off the area, a paramedic has also been spotted in the vicinity.
Sources inside the building say the Peel Building is now on lockdown. There are now multiple unconfirmed reports that there has been a stabbing, a man with a bloodied face has been spotted being led out by paramedics with blood on his chest which appears to have dripped down from his face.
The latest reports are that a man was stabbed on Marsham Street outside the Home Office and went inside for help. The Met Police has now confirmed that there was a stabbing outside. Reuters now have a picture of the victim:
— Guy Faulconbridge (@GuyReuters) August 15, 2019
Another man has been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.
UPDATE: The man’s injuries have been reported as “life-threatening”
UPDATE II: Home Secretary Priti Patel has commented on the “unprovoked attack”.
All my thoughts are with the victim and their family following horrific unprovoked knife attack on Marsham Street.
— Priti Patel MP (@patel4witham) August 15, 2019
The word going about the Home Office is that the man who was stabbed is a member of HO staff.
UPDATE III: The Met have released the following statement, confirming injuries are not life threatening
Police were called at 13:06hrs on Thursday, 15 August to Marsham Street, SW1 following a report of a man with a knife at the location.
Officers attended to find one man with knife injuries.
London Ambulance Service attended the address where they are with the injured party.
The injuries are not life threatening.
One man (no further details) has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken to a police station.
Enquiries are ongoing into the exact circumstances of the incident.