THE malignancy at the heart of the Tory Government has been exposed by the explosive resignation yesterday of top civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam.

That’s the verdict of SNP MP Joanna Cherry who said it was another reason, if one were needed, for Scotland to secure a fairer and more prosperous independent future.

READ MORE: Former Home Office boss Philip Rutnam's statement in full

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the resignation should set alarm bells ringing – not just about Home Secretary Priti Patel who is accused of bullying civil servants – but also Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the “immense influence” of his aide Dominic Cummings.

Rutnam has announced he is going to sue the Government for unfair and constructive dismissal.

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He said he had been offered money to go quietly but had refused, adding that the way he had been treated was part of a “wider pattern” in the Government.

The £175,000 a year mandarin quit after repeated clashes with Patel.

In an unusual move he gave a public statement claiming there had been “a vicious and orchestrated campaign” against him.

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He went on to accuse Patel of lying about her involvement.

Cherry told the Sunday National that his actions were unprecedented and exposed “the malignancy at the heart of this Tory Government”.

“That a respected public servant of 33 years’ service feels compelled to take this step is clear proof that the warnings about the damage an unrestrained Johnson Government would wreak on this country are proving all too sadly accurate,” she said.

“Johnson and his morally bankrupt cabal will let nothing and no one stand in their way as they inflict extreme right-wing ideology on the people of Britain, regardless of the cost.”

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Union leaders also hit out angrily at the Tory Government response to the bullying allegations.

A call for Johnson to speak out about the “scandal” has been made by Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, which represents over 30,000 civil servants.

“This is an extraordinary and unprecedented resignation at the very top of the civil service,” he said. “The Government’s response to allegations of bullying has been wholly inadequate and will leave civil servants feeling that they are powerless against such behaviour.

“All civil servants should be able to speak truth to power without being briefed against and forced out of their jobs. For this to have happened is nothing short of a scandal. This follows the resignation of the Chancellor after similar tactics.

“The culture not three months into this era should concern everyone.

“The Prime Minister should now intervene to make clear that a strong impartial civil service has his full support and he will not allow this to pass as acceptable on his watch.”

FDA, the senior public servant’s union, also called for Johnson to act.

General secretary Dave Penman pointed out that the briefings which Rutnam claims were made against him had come at a time when the Home Office should have been preparing to combat the spread of the coronavirus and had to deliver a “demanding” government agenda on immigration.

He said it demonstrated once again “the destructive consequences of anonymous briefings against public servants who are unable to publicly defend themselves.

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“This cowardly practice is not only ruining lives and careers but at a time when the Home Office is being tasked with delivering a demanding government agenda on immigration, and preparing for a public health emergency, it has diverted energy and resource into responding to unfounded accusations from sources claiming to be allies of the Home Secretary,” said Penman.

“Only the Prime Minister can put a stop to this behaviour and, unless he does so, he will have to accept his own responsibility for the consequences.”

Tensions between Rutnam and Patel grew over claims Patel has mistreated officials, which she denies. She is also said to have been irritated by Rutnam’s warnings that the Home Office will struggle to deliver the Government’s Brexit demands.

“One of my duties as permanent secretary was to protect the health safety and wellbeing of our 35,000 people,” said Rutnam yesterday. “This created tension with the Home Secretary and I have encouraged her to change her behaviours.

“I have received allegations that her conduct has included shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands – behaviour that created fear and that needed some bravery to call out.”

Claims he had briefed the media against her was one of many “completely false” allegations against him, he said.

“The Home Secretary categorically denied any involvement in this campaign to the Cabinet Office,” said Rutnam.

“I regret I do not believe her. She has not made the efforts I would expect to dissociate herself from the comments.”

Rutnam said his efforts to reconcile with Patel had been knocked back.

“Priti Patel has made no efforts to engage with me to discuss this,” he said.

This gave him a strong case to sue for constructive dismissal, he added, which he said he would pursue in the courts.