Nick Thomas-Symonds – 2021 Letter to Priti Patel on Her Personal Conduct

The letter sent by Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Shadow Home Secretary, to Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, on 4 March 2021.

Dear Priti,

I write in relation to the confirmation today that the Government has agreed to settle the claim of Sir Philip Rutnam.

This comes after Sir Alex Allan’s review in November 2020 found that you broke the Ministerial Code by bullying.

This means that taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for unacceptable behaviour from the Home Secretary.

As a result, it is vital that there is the maximum possible transparency around this issue, so I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions urgently:

– How much money in total has been spent on this case by the Government, including on legal fees? It has been reported that the settlement itself was £370,000, inclusive of Sir Philip Rutnam’s legal fees.

– How much money has been spent, so far, in preparation for the upcoming, and related, FDA union legal case?

– Since July 2019, how many cases related to bullying of officials have been opened in the Home Office?

– What progress has been made in implementing new systems to minimise bullying at the Home Office?

This whole episode continues to raise serious questions about standards of behaviour, responsibility and leadership at the highest level of Government. This is particularly clear in relation to the shameful response to Sir Alex Allan’s findings, which resulted in the adviser on standards resigning rather than the person he found to have broken the Ministerial Code. It is also clear that this continues to have consequences, not least for the taxpayer.

The Government has shown no care for the impact on workplaces up and down the country, where measures are being taken to address the issue of bullying, where this series of events must seem incomprehensible.

I await your urgent response.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP
Shadow Home Secretary