Tag Archives: civil

High Court urged to overturn Johnson’s decision to overlook Priti Patel’s bullying

Do you ever wonder whether High Court judges get frustrated that any serious work they do is delayed by the misdeeds of government ministers (not to mention the bleatings of sensitive celebs – but that’s another matter)?

Civil service union the FDA is demanding a judicial review of Boris Johnson’s decision not to sack Priti Patel for breaking the Ministerial Code by bullying officers at the Home Office, Department for International Development and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Johnson rejected the findings of a report by Alex Allan that found Patel was guilty of bullying civil servants while a minister in three government departments.

He defiantly backed her to continue as Home Secretary when, according to the rules, she should have been sacked – and said he had “full confidence” in her.

The decision provoke Allan to resign as government adviser on ministerial standards last November, immediately after the prime minister announced his decision.

It also emerged that Johnson had spent considerable effort trying to rally support for Patel among other ministers. This became even more questionable when it was revealed that Patel’s loathsome behaviour appeared to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide.

Now the FDA is taking the matter to the courts – and about time too:

In a written submission, general secretary Dave Penman told the High Court that “civil servants should expect to work with ministers without fear of being bullied or harassed”.

Mr Johnson’s actions had “fundamentally undermined” the disciplinary process, he added, and the prime minister had “misinterpreted” the definition of bullying in the Ministerial Code.

Mr Penman said there was “bewilderment, dismay and anger among our membership” and there had been “serious detrimental effects to workplace relations and confidence in the process for dealing with complaints against ministers”.

He added that, if Mr Johnson’s decision was not “corrected” by the court, “his interpretation of the Ministerial Code will result in that document failing to protect workplace standards across government”.

This is a row that has been simmering for a year – since the resignation of Sir Philip Rutnam as Home Office permanent secretary in February 2020.

He said he had been the target of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” ringled by Patel.

And he is pursuing an employment tribunal claim for constructive dismissal.

This action can only be strengthened if the High Court supports the FDA’s application.

Source: High Court urged to overturn PM’s decision to stand by Priti Patel – BBC News

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Did Johnson lock us down because he expects a riot?

Sound and fury: but the 2011 riots signified nothing. The government of the day suffered absolutely no harm at all from all the burning and looting that people inflicted on each other.

Apparently it’s called multiple discovery.

At the moment, many people across the UK are discovering the idea that a good way to respond to the absolute, unforgivable uselessness of Boris Johnson and his entire Conservative government – on Covid-19, on Brexit, and – let’s face it – on every other policy they have touched with their soiled Tory hands…

… is to riot.

Silly, silly people.

Don’t get me wrong. Considering the circumstances, rioting might be thought to be a reasonable reaction.

But I was having this conversation with a very good friend of mine recently, and had to point out that Johnson and his mobster mates won’t give a fig if a riot happens, because they know the rioters won’t target anything that could possibly make a difference.

Look at the riots in 2011. What happened?

A lot of people took to the streets and caused a lot of damage – to shops, to public property, and to other people.

They didn’t cause any harm at all to the people or institutions they blamed for harming them – by which I mean David Cameron and the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government of the day.

None at all.

As I said to my friend, if I was going to riot, the first thing I’d do would be to ensure that the police could not get their people and vehicles out of their stations to put down the public expression of unrest.

I don’t know how to do this, so we’re already talking academically, rather than practically.

The next thing I’d do would be to target seats of government; bring down the systems they use to inflict their idiocy on the rest of us.

The last thing I would do is target the homes and persons – in London and/or in the wider UK – of particular politicians I would hold responsible for the wholesale harm being done to thousands of ordinary people in the UK every week.

I wouldn’t go near my fellow citizens who are also suffering, their property, and/or the means by which they earn their living.

That would be equivalent to self-harm.

But it is always the first resort of the rioter.

Still, right after I had this conversation, I found the following on Twitter:

(Implying that the UK should by on fire right now.)

It’s a good point. Johnson’s latest wheeze has been to prompt foreign countries into closing their borders to anybody coming from the UK. They say he has turned the country into a “Plague Island” (and they’re not wrong).

This means international hauliers have been stopped at the country’s borders and are now backing up along the UK’s roads and motorways.

Not only has the supply chain seized up…

… but there is an urgent health risk to the drivers themselves, who have no direct access to food, toilets or washing facilities.

Johnson simply didn’t think of these things before he announced to us all that his failures had laid the UK prey to a new, more virulent variant of Covid-19. He and his advisers are too stupid to understand the implications of their decisions.

Here’s another good point:

In fact, it seems there is no outlet for the public to express our dissatisfaction with the way the government we elected has disgraced itself.

The mainstream media might broadcast interviews with people saying Johnson and his cronies have let us down but if our failed prime minister ever sees them, he’ll just laugh; people shouting at a camera can’t hurt him and they certainly won’t stop him.

He can ignore petitions.

Parliament is in recess for Christmas and he’s resisting demands for it to be recalled. He likes to do his business without democratic oversight, remember.

So what can you do?

Yeah, we can crack.

We can fall into a vortex of “loneliness, depression and anxiety”.

Believe me, Boris Johnson would be delighted by that result!

If you’re disgusted with everything he has done, you probably won’t want to please him in this way.

So the question arises:

What are you going to do?

It’s Christmas. You’re on a break. There’s a bit of time for you to make a decision.

Better make it a good one.

Because if it isn’t…

You may never see another Christmas.

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Here’s how Keir Starmer pushed the Labour Party into (un)civil war – in tweets

Keir Starmer: it’s not a real war – and he’s certainly not the man to lead one. But the harm he is doing to innocent Labour Party members with his high-handed diktats is certainly an atrocity.

We all know how this one started: Keir Starmer’s right-wing secretary David Evans suspended Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour membership after the former Labour leader provided a perfectly reasonable opinion on the EHRC report into anti-Semitism in the party.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission had been tasked with researching whether Labour was “institutionally anti-Semitic” after strident claims by groups claiming to speak for UK Jews, including the fake charity calling itself the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

It found no evidence to support that claim, but did say that there were historic cases in which the party had broken the law. In both cases, Labour had acted to rectify the breaches.

Corbyn, responding to the report, said it showed that claims of anti-Semitism in the party had been massively over-inflated. Starmer, responding to Corbyn, said there was no place in Labour for people who downplayed the seriousness of the issue. Corbyn had not done this, but it seems Starmer then told Evans to suspend Corbyn’s membership and investigate him for breaches of party rules.

Two weeks later, a panel of Labour’s ruling NEC said Corbyn should be re-admitted to the party – so Starmer, in a fit of childish petulance, ruled that he could not have the Parliamentary whip restored.

This inflamed socialist Labour members in the constituencies, who had already been supporting motions to restore Corbyn’s party membership while it had been suspended. They expanded their activities to include demands for Corbyn’s reinstatement as a Labour MP, along with votes of ‘no confidence’ in Starmer and Evans.

In response, Starmer (through Evans) ordered that any such motions were not proper party business and that anybody speaking out against his policy on anti-Semitism or Corbyn, or demanding confidence votes against him, should face disciplinary action. This was to be enforced by the party’s regional offices.

This Writer has been following the scandal on Twitter, where people have been very free with their opinions. I had intended to public articles focusing on the new developments but they came so fast – at a time when I was having to deal with my own court case against the Labour Party – that I was unable to keep up.

I present the following in a (weak) attempt to catch up.

So, here’s Darran McLaughlin, a joint secretary of Bristol West Labour Party:

In response, Mr McLaughlin’s own party membership was suspended, along with that of Bristol West’s chairperson.

Meanwhile, actual complaints about anti-Semitism – the issue sparking the controversy – were being ignored:

Margaret Beckett was elected chair of the party’s newly-elected NEC – a hugely controversial move that prompted a walkout by left-wing members of the party’s ruling committee:

This response is typical of those I have seen:

Some of the more experienced commentators saw these attacks on the left as expressions of Starmer’s failure to lead opposition to the Johnson government:

Meanwhile, local Labour parties continued to rise up against Starmer:

… Along with trade unions:

Reports started to appear stating that Labour members were walking out of the party en masse in disgust at Starmer’s dictatorial attitude.

And the no-confidence votes continued to stack up:

The scandal affected Starmer’s ability to put across Labour messages:

And its failure to grapple with the issues of the day was picked up by the commentatorati:

Starmer was accused of attacking free speech…

… and local parties started expressing solidarity with their colleagues who had already been victimised by him:

The mainstream media remained strangely quiet about the crisis – in shocking contrast to its coverage of anything even slightly critical of Jeremy Corbyn when he was party leader:

Ordered not to discuss Starmer’s ill-treatment of Jeremy Corbyn or other party members, local parties changed their tactics and decided to concentrate on ‘no confidence’ votes against the current leader and his general secretary:

Members did make their feelings clear on Twitter, though:

And some local parties pressed on with support for Corbyn, regardless. South Thanet’s contribution was particularly telling because it was proposed by Jewish party members:

At this point, Starmer decided to demonstrate once again his astonishing lack of judgement – by spending the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at a joint meeting of the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel.

It was a clear endorsement of Israel’s persecution of Palestinians that Starmer – and his deputy leader, Angela Rayner – chose to attend a meeting in support of that country’s government rather than protest against it.

Other party members started researching Starmer’s history. This seems reasonable – his Governance and Legal Unit was merrily looking into everything party members have said online, in search of excuses to suspend them (as we were to see later).

Starmer’s gagging orders on local parties started to take effect:

But that didn’t stop them from voting against him:

There were some local parties that voiced support for Starmer. This was also against the diktat handed down by the Labour leader and his secretary but – how odd! – he didn’t seem to want to do anything about it!

I’m going to end this part of my round-up (there’s a lot of material out there) with the following appraisal of Keir Starmer, because everything above tends to indicate that it is spot-on accurate:

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Web of lies around Priti Patel bullying report: why is she protected if she pushes people to suicide?

I don’t like it when people in my government lie to me.

I have a feeling I share that opinion with many people.

Priti Patel seized on the part of Alex Allan’s report into bullying allegations against her, that said she had not been warned that her behaviour towards civil service employees exceeded the bounds of acceptability.

But it seems that this was because Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip Rutnam, the former Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, who is suing the government for constructive dismissal.

According to The Guardian,

sources say Allan was informed he could not interview Rutnam because of the legal action. Allan, however, felt that his inquiry was being denied potentially crucial evidence.

Rutnam… said she was clearly advised not to shout and swear at staff the month after her appointment in 2019 and that he told her to treat staff with respect “on further occasions”.

The indication that Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip suggests that his claim is correct. Priti Patel – as the person who was given the advice – would therefore have known she had it.

So it seems she lied, in order to make herself look better. That in itself is despicable.

Worse still, we hear that the prime minister – Boris Johnson – himself asked for the report on Patel to be “palatable”. Doesn’t this suggest that he didn’t want the facts – just something he could use to deflect criticism?

Is it any wonder that Sir Alex resigned after Johnson ignored even the findings of his report as it eventually appeared?

Finally, there is the odious spectacle of Tory MPs and ministers rallying to support Patel – a colleague whose loathsome behaviour appears to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide:

Mr Khan attempted to endorse it because his boss told him to help “form a square around the Prittster”.

So now we have an increasing number of Conservative MPs – and, presumably, other Tories – trying to deceive us all into accepting that there’s no reason for Priti Patel to be removed from office.

It seems one bad apple really can spoil the whole barrel. Or were they already spoiled and this episode just showed us the extent of it?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘asked for Patel report to be palatable’, source claims – BBC News

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Labour civil war: unions weigh in, former MP signs out, and Margaret Hodge contradicts herself

.Margaret Hodge: she once praised Jeremy Corbyn glowingly but is singing a different tune now. Why the change of heart? Political expediency?

For a leader who said he wanted to bring unity to the Labour Party, Keir Starmer has certainly caused a lot of division.

This Writer thinks the best conclusion to be drawn by those of us who are watching is that he lied; Starmer’s plan was always to cause the maximum amount of upset possible and ensure that Labour is incapable of opposing the Conservatives at a time when the Tory government is itself weak.

That is the only explanation that makes any sense at all.

So today the antagonism has intensified – as witnessed in the articles of that exhaustive follower of Labour’s woes, Skwawkbox.

I’ll level with you: this story is likely to develop so quickly and in so many different directions that it will be hard to keep up. But I’ll try to keep tabs on developments and point you to those that are of interest.

Skwawkbox tells us first that the unions have condemned Starmer’s continuing persecution of Jeremy Corbyn:

Unite’s Len McCluskey condemned Starmer’s ‘vindictive and vengeful decision which despoils Party democracy and due process‘ – and for acting in ‘bad faith’ in his ‘continued persecution’ of Corbyn – and accused him of destroying ‘party unity and integrity’ while undermining the EHRC report he has pledged to implement in full.

Fair comment, I think…

CWU general secretary Dave Ward went even further, describing Starmer’s action as ‘shocking’ – because it gives Boris Johnson a free ride over the serious issues of the day. Millions face redundancy, hundreds are dying every day and the government gets away with it. But Starmer wants a civil war.

Also fair. Read the full report here.

Meanwhile a well-respected former Labour MP has quit the party in disgust at Starmer’s behaviour.

Former Colne Valley MP – and PPS to John McDonnell, meaning she worked as part of his shadow Treasury team – Thelma Walker has resigned her membership of the Labour Party, while expressing solidarity with former party leader Jermey Corbyn.

She made her feelings clear in a tweeted response to another former Labour MP:

“Labour MPs used [the PLP] as a vehicle for self-aggrandisement and personal attacks on those they didn’t agree with.”

“[I] witnessed the toxic atmosphere [in the Parliamentary Labour Party] every Monday evening. My stomach used to turn over before I went in the room. The same people would leave the meeting and report to journalists.”

That’s not the kind of Labour Party This Writer wants to have and I don’t think you want it either. But thanks to Starmer and his cronies, that’s the party we have.

Read the sad details here.

On the subject of Starmer’s cronies, one of the reasons he kept Corbyn from rejoining the PLP seems to have been a threat by Margaret Hodge that she would quit the party if it happened.

Hodge has been a vociferous opponent of Corbyn, having spent several years denouncing him as an anti-Semite. It seems she is also a hypocrite, as a comment uncovered today shows:

“I was fighting fascism and that would be completely up his street. He takes stands on things and he fights his corner. I like that about him.”

How times change. The Skwawkbox article is here.

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Reinventing the wheel: after replacing civil servants with expensive private consultants, Cummings wants to replace them with… a civil service

Caught out: Dominic Cummings and his puppet Boris Johnson are pretending to be creating a shiny new way to stop spiralling consultancy and private contractor costs for the government – but in fact they are simply trying to revive the civil service after successive Tory governments spent the last 10 years running it into the ground.

Dominic Cummings – what an absolute, utter, dunderheaded nincompoop.

After months in which the Tory government under his puppet Boris Johnson has been doling out cash hand over fist to expensive private consultants for help on Covid-19 – and getting nothing in return…

… and years in which the Tories have been disparaging the expertise of the civil service, pushing leading public servants to quit forever…

Cummings has decided that private consultants are just too expensive and the government should consider creating an in-house organisation for service provision instead.

He has given it a snazzy new name: the Crown Consultancy. The concept will be more familiar to you as the Civil Service.

The plan was presented to the public via the Financial Times – which is behind a paywall, so I’ve been referring to a report in The London Economic instead:

“There’s a lot of reliance on consultancies,” one source close to the plan told the paper. “It would be sensible to look at what we can do internally, rather than externally.”

Isn’t that a description of what the Civil Service does?

This is a story about government spin.

The real headline is that the Conservatives have wasted billions – perhaps hundreds of billions – on private rip-off merchants since they came back into office in 2010, because of their well-professed distrust of so-called “experts”.

Between 2016 and 2020, Britain spent £2.6 billion on just eight consultancies – including KPMG, McKinsey, Deloitte and EY.

The coronavirus crisis has seen the government’s reliance on private-sector consultancies spiral, with at least £56 million spent for help with issues as wide-ranging as data analysis and supplying PPE.

Only £56 million? I make it £100 million – and all because neither Boris Johnson nor Dominic Cummings could be bothered to think for themselves.

But of course these figures do not include the sums spent on private companies recommended to provide services by these consultants.

Look at the privatisation of the probation service: £2.5 billion went down the drain in that disaster.

Related to that, what about the scandal of privately-run prisons, in which G4S was fined £2.7 million for more than 100 breaches of its contract with the government. Considering the size of the fines, how much was that contract worth?

Or we could consider the fiasco that is Universal Credit. How many billions has that cost by now? I reported on this in 2013 and costs have spiralled upwards exponentially since then.

My report on Universal Credit also mentions that “Michael Gove’s Education Department is now in a terrible mess because he brought in a gang of “advisors” to operate “above” his officials – who have meanwhile faced huge cuts in their workforce and a disastrous fall in morale” and refers to a report on This Site in June of that year.

Who took the blame for the private enterprise failures in the DWP and Education? The Civil Service.

In my June 2013 report, I described the policy as: “Blame the Civil Service for everything, cut it back, and leave the actual mechanics of government unusable by anybody who follows them.

Well, it seems I was right.

And now the Tories are reaping what they have sowed. Their scorched-earth civil service policy has cost them billions and they are still in office to take the blame for it.

Except, of course, that their client journalists in papers like the FT are happy to spin it into a story about a shiny new organisation to save the day, rather than admit it’s just an attempt to revive an old service they ran into the ground.

Well, we’ve all seen through it:

Source: Johnson wants a ‘Crown Consultancy’ to stem private sector spending spree

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Dictator Johnson threatens MARTIAL LAW if we play five-a-side or stay in the pub after 10pm

Dictator Johnson: he’s putting troops on the streets to enforce his will. Remember this comes before a harmful Brexit, and he is planning to abolish our human rights. Do you feel safe with this man in charge?

Boris Johnson appears to have lost whatever grip on reality he had left.

Announcing new restrictions on public freedom in England, in his latest bid to show he’s doing something about Covid-19, he threatened to bring in the armed forces to enforce them.

And what are these new restrictions? Here:

All citizens are being told to work from home if they can with immediate effect – and from Thursday, all pubs, restaurants and even kebab shops and takeaways must shut from 10pm.

Masks will become compulsory for shop and pub staff, taxi passengers within days – while the fine for breaking the ‘rule of six’ on gatherings will double to £200.

Only 15 people will be allowed to attend weddings from Monday and five-a-side football will be axed.

That’s the lot.

And Johnson had the following to add:

Boris Johnson has said the military could be deployed in England to help with the enforcement of new coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, the prime minister said there would now be “greater police presence” on the streets with “the option to draw on military support where required”.

The prime minister’s spokesperson said the military could be used to backfill certain police duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police officers can be out enforcing the virus response.

That seems a sop to the masses – an attempt to co-opt our support for having the military invading our daily lives.

“This is not about providing any additional powers to the military, or them replacing the police in enforcement roles, and they will not be handing out fines. It is about freeing up more police officers,” the spokesperson said.

And how long will that last before more powers are granted to the military? Before our guardians become our keepers?

Possibly the worst aspect of this is the fact that the Labour Party – Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to the Johnson government – has no interest in opposing:

Johnson said MPs will have the opportunity to debate the new coronavirus measures next week.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said Johnson was “right” to announce further measures. “We support those measures,” he said.

This is terrifying.

It seems our political leaders are colluding to take our freedoms away from us, using the pandemic as an excuse.

Is it really a coincidence that this introduction of the military into our daily lives is happening just months before Johnson takes us through a potentially traumatic end to the Brexit process that is likely to cause shortages of goods including foods, along with unemployment and civil unrest?

Johnson is preparing to put down any such unrest with military force.

But don’t just take my word for it:

Even Brexit Party bigwig – and hence arch-Brexiteer – Richard Tice thinks this is a step too far:

What do you think?

Source: Military Could Help Police Enforce New Coronavirus Rules, Says Boris Johnson | HuffPost UK

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Civil disobedience: would parents be irresponsible to send their children back to school now?

Closed: schools in England should stay that way because the Tory government cannot guarantee that they are safe – and parents will be legally responsible if their children catch Covid-19 while following the government’s demand that they attend.

If English parents send their children back to school on Monday (June 1), they will carry responsibility if their child catches Covid-19 as a result.

It seems the Tory government isn’t telling anybody about that part of the law on parental responsibility.

This Writer is grateful to one such parent, who writes:

You have a legal obligation to not send your child anywhere you believe to be unsafe.

If you suspect your child is going to be harmed and you send them anyway and they get harmed, you are legally liable.

You cannot be made non-liable either, not while you have parental responsibility and they can’t penalise you for fulfilling a legal obligation.

So the law seems clear, in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic:

There is no guarantee that children will be safe from catching this potentially deadly disease at school.

If they catch it, then it doesn’t matter whether they show symptoms or not – they will still be vulnerable to the variant of Kawasaki disease that has proved fatal in several cases both in the UK and around the world.

Parents have a responsibility to keep children away from places where they may be endangered – and these places currently include schools.

If the child catches Covid-19, or contracts the Kawasaki variant, at school then the parent will be legally responsible for it – not the Tory government that demanded that the child must go back to school.

So the law tells us that parents must keep their children away from school, no matter what the government says.

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It’s civil servants v Boris Johnson over Priti Patel’s bullying. Who’s going to believe the known liar?

Priti Patel: smug as ever – perhaps because she’s got Boris Johnson making sure she’ll remain as Home Secretary no matter what is said against her.

Civil servants are now lining up to condemn Home Secretary Priti Patel, while she has support from liars like Boris Johnson and other former – disgraced – ministers like Liam Fox.

A civil servant writing in The Guardian tells us: “Civil servants are supposed to silently get on with it while ministers take the flak… But this very British convention of public life… is now being shredded by an emboldened administration still flexing its muscular majority.

“More colleagues are now coming forward with further allegations against Patel during her time as an employment minister in 2015. That’s in addition to claims that she, as international development secretary, openly called her staff “fucking useless”.

“So it might not be a stretch to say that this feels like like a sort of #MeToo moment for the civil service. Those who, like me, have been around government for several years reckon more allegations are on the way. There may be blood.”

But the writer says it probably won’t be Ms Patel’s.

Yes, there will be a Cabinet Office investigation – but the minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, has already given her his support.

Not only that: Boris Johnson told MPs he was “sticking by” Ms Patel during Prime Minister’s Questions, saying she was “delivering change, putting police out on the street, cutting crime, and delivering a new immigration system”. He is a known liar, of course.

Oh, and how about this endorsement?

Liam Fox was, if I recall correctly, the very first member of the Conservative government from 2010 onwards who was forced to resign in disgrace.

That is the kind of support she is getting.

Ms Patel may stay on as Home Secretary – let’s face it, it seems clear that Johnson is rigging any investigation in her favour – but she’ll never live down the scandal.

Civil servants don’t make this kind of fuss about nothing.

And she has already been forced to resign from a previous Cabinet job after she tried to carry out her own foreign policy, independent of even the Tory government’s.

As far as This Writer is concerned, she is poison. If she stays, she’ll become a symbol of Tory government bullying, lies and corruption.

Source: The Priti Patel allegations are turning into a #MeToo moment for the civil service | The civil servant | Opinion | The Guardian

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Calls for independent inquiry into Patel’s behaviour as evidence mounts up

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson: allies against the civil service?

The Cabinet Office has launched an inquiry into whether Priti Patel has breached the ministerial code by bullying civil servants under her.

But MPs including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are demanding an independent inquisition as more evidence against her comes to light.

For example, Sir Philip Rutnam’s claim that he was offered a “financial settlement” to keep him from speaking out about the “vicious and orchestrated” plot against him may be validated by claims that another civil servant was driven to a suicide attempt by Ms Patel’s behaviour towards her at the Department for Work and Pensions.

The person involved apparently was shouted at, told to get lost and dismissed from her job in the minister’s private office because Ms Patel “doesn’t like your face”, according to legal correspondence seen by the BBC. She took an overdose of prescription medicines and had to be taken home by her husband, where she attempted to kill herself, the legal correspondence said.

The victim later brought a complaint for unfair dismissal, harassment, victimisation and discrimination, but the DWP hushed it up with a £25,000 settlement without admitting liability.

Worse than this is the claim that Boris Johnson himself has given support to ministers who wish to smear top civil servants.

Dave Penman, head of the senior civil servants union, the FDA, said Johnson and his closest aides have “ripped up the rule book” that ensured the ministers do not attack civil servants.

The allegation means it would be impossible to trust the finding of a Cabinet Office inquiry which could be influenced by Johnson.

Meanwhile the pressure is building against Ms Patel, with calls increasing for her to be suspended as a minister while her behaviour is investigated.

This is a power struggle at the heart of government.

Or so it seems to This Writer.

On one side, we have a civil service staffed by experts on government who know that politics is “the art of the possible” and are bound to advise MPs on how much of their plans are both possible and advisable.

On the other: a rabble of hard-right Tory authoritarians whose belief that their orders should be obeyed – no matter how insane – has been compared with fascism.

You’d better pray that the side of reason wins.

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