British Home Office Secretary Priti Patel has demanded a probe into officials’ “hostile briefings” in her department amid allegations that MI5 intelligence chiefs do not trust her, The Times reports.
“Priti is absolutely livid. The blob is trying to kill her. She's determined to get to the bottom of it”, the newspaper cited an unnamed source as saying on Sunday.
The source suggested that “someone is clearly out to get Priti”, adding, “the made-up briefing about our intelligence services has crossed the line”.
MI5, in turn, was quick to reject “untrue” reports claiming that Patel and MI5 “do not have a strong working relationship”.
“The Home Secretary is briefed daily on intelligence matters in exactly the same way as any previous post holder. No information is being withheld. Any report suggesting otherwise is simply wrong and does not serve the public interest”, MI5 underscored.
The statement comes after a security official reportedly claimed that the “the spooks” find Patel “extremely difficult to deal with” because she “doesn’t grasp the subtleties of intelligence”.
“It's not black and white. They don't have confidence in her abilities”, the source claimed.
A second source was cited by the Times as arguing that Patel gets less classified information than her predecessors.
“Some things the security services do have legal implications, but she tends not to want to hear that”, the source asserted.
This followed The Times reporting last week that Patel faced a raft of negative briefings amid allegations that she attempted to ouster her permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam after a number of rows.
Home Office Secretary allies reportedly rejected accusations that Patel had 'bullied and belittled' officials in her department, making unreasonable demands or creating an “atmosphere of fear”.