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PRITI PATEL denied “false” claims by anonymous intelligence agency chiefs today that she can’t be trusted with confidential information in the latest battle between the Tories and the civil service.
The home secretary spoke out against anonymous claims made in The Times that she has been refused sensitive documents and that senior civil servants have no confidence in her ability for the job.
The anonymous accusations also claim that she bullies her staff and that she is trying to remove Sir Philip Putnam, who is the most senior Home Office official.
At the time of going to print, no formal complaints from civil servants or other employees were made to the Home Office.
The allegations come as part of growing tension between Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration and the Civil Service over questions of key personnel and staff recruitment.
Ms Patel was said to be “livid” over the allegations and called for a government inquiry into “hostile briefings” carried out by the intelligence organisation against the government.
Senior Tories have long held suspicions about Ms Patel’s capability and integrity.
In 2017 she was forced to resign as international development secretary after it was revealed that she was taking part in secret negotiations with Israeli politicians which were not authorised by the British government.
Minister for Security at the Home Office James Brokenshire said that he “does not recognise” the allegations concerning Ms Patel, and said that there had been no difference in the way security briefings have been handled under Ms Patel’s leadership of the Home Office.
He was joined by senior Tory figure Theresa Villiers, who called Ms Patel “highly effective” and added that she was “sick of spiteful briefings against women in high public office.”
She also enjoys the full backing of 10 Downing Street, with Mr Johnson’s official spokesman stating that he has “full confidence” in her.
Mr Johnson declined the opportunity to offer the same endorsement to Sir Philip individually, telling reporters that he has “full confidence in the Civil Service.”
A joint statement by both Ms Patel and Sir Philip said that the briefings were “false” and that they were “deeply concerned” by the allegations.
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