‘Leave her alone!’ Iain Duncan Smith rages at civil servants as he backs Priti Patel

A report published at the weekend claimed the security service did not trust Ms Patel and so had reduced the volume of intelligence they showed to her – with an MI5 source subsequently taking the unusual step of denying the Sunday Times story. Mr Duncan Smith, who worked closely with Ms Patel when he was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and she was Employment minister between 2015 and 2016, blamed civil servants who he said were maliciously briefing against her.

Speaking to Express.co.uk at the House of Commons, Mr Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, said: “It’s completely ridiculous really.

“Civil servants, many of whom I’ve worked with, are brilliant, excellent people who get on with it and don’t get involved in this nonsense.

“But there are some who have decided for whatever reason they want to make life difficult for her and that’s nonsense.

It gives a bad reputation to the civil service

Iain Duncan Smith

“And the good ones will tell them shut up, we’ve had enough of this.

“It gives a bad reputation to the civil service.

“The vast majority of them are good, hard-working people but I just think this briefing, it’s got to stop.

“It never used to happen but it’s now all become rather political.”

Witham MP Ms Patel was appointed Home Secretary by Boris Johnson after he became Prime Minister last July.

Prior to that, she served as International Development Secretary between 2016 and 2017, resigning after it emerged she had held meetings in Israel without telling the Foreign Office.

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Ms Patel, who has also been accused of trying to force out senior civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam, is “deeply concerned” at the “false allegations”, the BBC reported yesterday.

A Downing Street spokesman said on Monday: “The Prime Minister has full confidence in the Home Secretary and the vital work she is doing.”

The Sunday Times report suggested spies regularly “roll their eyes” at Ms Patel’s remarks during meetings.

However, the source security said the report was untrue.

The insider explained: “No information is being withheld.

“Any report suggesting otherwise is simply wrong and does not serve the public interest.”

The source added: “Reports suggesting that the Home Secretary and MI5 do not have a strong relationship are simply untrue.

“The Home Secretary is briefed daily on intelligence matters in exactly the same way as any previous post holder.”

MI5, was founded in 1909 to counter German espionage ahead of World War1, and is responsible for protecting British national security.

Its most important role is countering international terrorism, although it is also a counter-intelligence agency.

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