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Priti Patel concerned by ‘false allegations’ amid claims MI5 ‘doesn’t trust her’ | Politics News



Home Secretary Priti Patel has dismissed claims that MI5 doesn’t trust her and that she bullied her department’s most senior civil servant.

The Press Association reports that she is demanding a leak inquiry be carried out by the cabinet office following a number of “false allegations”, including that intelligence chiefs are limiting the information they share with her.

Those claims came via The Sunday Times, just days after Ms Patel became embroiled in a bullying row.

MI5 headquarters
MI5 is reportedly reluctant to share intel with Ms Patel

It was reported last week that the home secretary, who kept her job in Boris Johnson’s recent cabinet reshuffle, tried to remove permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam from his role after a series of arguments.

She also faced accusations in The Times of belittling officials, making unreasonable demands and creating an “atmosphere of fear”, which have been denied by the home office.

In a statement, the home office said: “The home secretary and permanent secretary are deeply concerned about the number of false allegations appearing in the media.

“They are focused on delivering on the Home Office’s hugely important agenda, which includes creating an immigration system that works for the UK, more police on the streets and keeping the public safe from terrorism.”

Philip Rutnam
There have been reports of a row between Philip Rutnam and the home secretary

Another statement followed regarding the allegations about MI5.

It said Ms Patel “receives the same daily intelligence briefings as her predecessors” – and insisted that no information was being withheld by the security services.

“The home secretary and MI5 have a strong and close working relationship,” said a spokesman, adding: “Baseless claims to the contrary are both wrong and against the public interest.”

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According to the Press Association, Ms Patel has ordered a formal leak inquiry be carried out by Helen MacNamara, who is the director-general of propriety and ethics at the cabinet office.

But while an ally of the home secretary has told the news agency that Ms MacNamara has so far blocked the request, cabinet office sources have suggested one has not yet been made.

The reports are a continuation of what has been a difficult month for Ms Patel, who faced scepticism over the government’s new post-Brexit immigration system upon its unveiling last week.

She was questioned for suggesting that eight million “economically inactive” Britons could fill many vacancies left by workers from the EU, despite official figures showing most of them are retired, long-term sick or students.

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