A minister was left flabbergasted after he learnt that civil servants have allegedly branded home secretary Priti Patel a “moron”.
In an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley, small business minister Paul Scully looked shocked after he was relayed the comments allegedly made over the weekend and was asked to make the case for why Patel is actually not a moron.
“Um, beg pardon?” he said. “Who said that?”
#KayBurley - Civil servants have called Priti Patel a moron... why is she not a moron?
Paul Scully - That's specu… https://t.co/GZ0KkOHBXj
It comes after the Daily Mail reported that sources told them Patel was “moronic” for allegedly considering writing to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to complain about failings in her department and for issues, including failures to deal with an increase in the number of migrants entering the UK in small boats.
One apparently told the newspaper: “She comes into meetings and her suggestions are erratic and outlandish.
“Officials come out of the meetings and the texts start flying, describing her as a ‘moron’ and an ‘idiot’.”
Another said: “What’s become clear is that she [the Home Secretary] is out for herself and only interested in how this plays out publicly.
“If we worked collaboratively then we could get things done but instead we just have cloud cuckoo land public statements.”
And another was reported to say: “She hates us and we all hate her.”
Sounds like they need a team away day...
Last night, permanent secretary to the Home Office Matthew Rycroft issued a joint statement with Patel in response to the row.
It said: “The Home Office is responsible for delivering some of this Government’s biggest priorities – recruiting 20,000 police officers and cutting crime, keeping our country safe from terrorism, and implementing the New Plan for Immigration.
“We are both hugely grateful for the hard work of the thousands of public servants who work to do this every single day.
“While personal and anonymous attacks are regrettable and a very unfortunate part of public life, as joint leaders of the Home Office we will not let them distract from building a department able to rise to the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Burley gave Scully a brief explainer on all that mess, and he replied: “That’s speculation, I’m really not going to get involved with that.
“I don’t think name calling is particularly handy. Priti is an effective home office minister.”
After Burley reminded him that she is the home secretary not just any old minister, she tried to press him again:
“Her civil servants think she’s a moron... I mean goodness me actually coming out to say that there must be some disquiet in the ranks there,” she said.
“Priti Patel is doing an incredibly difficult job,” Scully replied, refusing to be dragged into the drama.
Sounds like the Home Office isn’t the most homely environment right now.