Priti Patel urged to respond to bullying claims

Composite of Priti Patel and Philip Rutnam Image copyright Getty Images/BBC Image caption Tensions had been reported between Priti Patel and Sir Philip Rutnam

Home Secretary Priti Patel is facing pressure to respond to bullying allegations made by the former top civil servant in her department.

Sir Philip Rutnam, the Home 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”.

Ms Patel, who has not publicly responded to Sir Philip’s claims, 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”.

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Media captionSir Philip Rutnam says there has been a “vicious, orchestrated briefing campaign” against him

He said he now intended to take legal action against the Home Office on the basis of constructive dismissal.

Ms Patel, who has rejected newspaper reports about the claims, did not publicly comment on Sir Philip’s statement.

Labour leadership contender Sir Keir said: “The home secretary has a duty to come to Parliament on Monday to explain the allegations made about her own conduct.”

He also called for the head of the civil service, Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill, to start “an immediate investigation” into the circumstances surrounding Sir Philip’s departure.

“There are now urgent questions that must be answered and steps that need to be taken,” he added.

Image copyright PA Media Image caption Ms Patel has not yet commented on Sir Philip’s statement

Meanwhile, shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett called on the prime minister himself to make a statement.

And the former head of the civil service, Lord Kerslake, suggested that the home secretary would have to resign if Sir Philip wins his legal action.

According to BBC correspondent Iain Watson, allies of Ms Patel are privately suggesting that Sir Philip was not up to the demands of the job.

The Home Office has to deliver on two key election pledges – recruiting more police officers and swiftly introducing a new, 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 Mr Rutnam’s deputy, will become acting permanent secretary.

Sir Philip’s departure,

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