Reports claim MI5 is limiting intelligence sharing with Priti Patel
PUBLISHED: 07:41 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 07:45 24 February 2020
The government has been forced to move to strongly deny claims that MI5 chiefs do not trust home secretary Priti Patel and were limiting intelligence sharing with her.
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The security services were dragged into the row when the Sunday Times reported officials alleging intelligence chiefs do "not trust" her and have decided to share less intelligence with her.
The latest allegation came after it emerged last week that she had tried to move permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam from her department after they had a series of rows.
Patel claimed they were "false allegations" amid claims of bullying and distrust from intelligence chiefs.
An ally said she was "absolutely livid" about the recent slew of allegations and insisted she was demanding a leak inquiry to be carried out by the Cabinet Office.
However, Cabinet Office sources were adamant that a request had not been received either formally or informally, exposing an apparent escalation of the row.
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A government spokesman, denying the latest allegation, said: "The home secretary and MI5 have a strong and close working relationship, and baseless claims to the contrary are both wrong and against the public interest.
"The home secretary receives the same daily intelligence briefings as her predecessors, and no information is being withheld."
A Home Office spokesman 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, putting more police on the streets and keeping the public safe from terrorism."
Former Brexit secretary David Davis was warning against the creation of "hit lists" for civil service staff.
His comments followed suggestions that prime minister Boris Johnson and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings want to replace a number of officials as part of a Whitehall shake-up.
Speaking on BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show, Davis suggested the current issues in the civil service would not be resolved via a "firing squad".
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