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24 Feb, 2020 13:58

UK PM insists MI5 isn’t withholding info from Home Secretary Patel after claims intel agencies are ‘concerned’ by her abilities

UK PM insists MI5 isn’t withholding info from Home Secretary Patel after claims intel agencies are ‘concerned’ by her abilities

British intelligence agencies are not withholding information from Home Secretary Priti Patel, Downing Street insists, amid reports that MI5 have concerns about her abilities as a minister in charge of securing citizens’ safety.

In a statement issued on Monday, Boris Johnson’s spokesman insisted that the prime minister had “full confidence” in Patel, following weekend reports of infighting in her department and claims that MI5 – Britain’s main domestic intelligence agency – were not cooperating with her.

A report in the Sunday Times claimed that MI5 were not sharing security intelligence with Patel because they “do not trust” her, reportedly leaving the home secretary “livid." 

Also on rt.com Priti Patel resigns amid row over secret meetings with Israeli politicians

The claims prompted a swift rebuttal from the Home Office, which also rejected claims that Patel had created an “atmosphere of fear” in her department and was encouraging “behavior outside the rule of law.”

Government officials confirmed on Thursday that Patel had called on Downing Street to replace her chief civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam, who has held the role since April 2017.

It’s not the first time Patel has courted controversy. In 2017 she was forced to resign from former PM Theresa May’s cabinet as international development secretary after engaging in unauthorized off-diary meetings with prominent Israeli politicians.

Earlier this month, she was ridiculed on social media after describing terrorists such as Sudesh Amman – the recent Streatham attacker – as "counter-terrorist offenders." Critics also objected to her blaming the old Labour government, who have been out of power for 10 years, for Amman's early release from prison.

Also on rt.com Priti Patel branded ‘moron’ online after referring to ‘counter-terrorist offenders’, blaming old Labour govt for early release law

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