Matt Hancock defends Priti Patel over bullying claim

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended Priti Patel as “courteous” following bullying claims made by the ex-top official in her department.Sir Philip Rutnam, the house Office’s most senior official, resigned on Saturday citing a “vicious and orchestrated” campaign against him.

Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said Ms Patel must come to Parliament to “explain”.The home secretary has not publicly skilled Sir Philip’s claims but previously denied she mistreated staff.

In his statement, Sir Philip said he received allegations that Ms Patel’s conduct towards employees included “swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands”.

He said he now intended to require action against the house Office on the idea of constructive dismissal.But chatting with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hancock described Ms Patel as “very determined” but also “extremely courteous”.

He added that she was “probably closer to where the general public are on the problems of law and order than any Home Secretary in recent history”.Labour leadership contenders have also commented on Sir Philip’s departure, with Rebecca Long-Bailey calling it “an example of this Tory government in disarray” and Lisa Nandy saying the house Office was “in chaos”.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News things was “unprecedented” and suggested that Ms Patel was “on the way out”.And the former head of the government officials , Lord Kerslake, argued that the house secretary may need to resign if Sir Philip wins his action .

Lord Kerslake said the resignation – and therefore the way during which Sir Philip left – was “extraordinary”, adding that it’ll send “shockwaves” through most of the government officials .

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Sunday he said: “Every institution can do better and that is true for the government officials also , but what you do not do is attend war with the government officials .”

According to BBC correspondent Iain Watson, allies of Ms Patel are privately suggesting that Sir Philip wasn’t up to the stress of the work .

The Home Office has got to deliver on two key election pledges – recruiting more cops and swiftly introducing a replacement , post-Brexit immigration system.Asked if the prime minister had full confidence in Ms Patel, a Downing Street source said Mr Johnson had full confidence in his cabinet.

Sir Mark thanked Sir Philip for his “long and dedicated career of public service” and said he received the resignation “with great regret”.He said Shona Dunn, who had been Sir Philip’s deputy, will become acting permanent secretary.

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