This present situation with the Home Secretary being accused of ill-treating the civil service has made me think of that great TV comedy Yes Minister.

Although a comedy it was written by people highly experienced in government politics who knew exactly what goes on in the Civil Service.

Although it was funny it was at the same time showing the public what the Civil Service really thinks of our ministers, who they consider not good enough, or indeed intelligent enough, to be able to tell them, the “service”, what should be done. It also enlightened us as to the “behind the scenes planning” that takes place by civil servants without the knowledge of a minister, or indeed us the public.

Now the present situation with Priti Patel is that we now have a Yes Minister scenario in reverse.

We have a competent, dedicated minister who is a strong personality and a workaholic who obviously has no time for the mentality of the Sir Humphreys of this world.

The Home Secretary has a difficult job already with the illegal immigrants coming across the channel.

She is also a strong supporter of our police force in the fight against growing anti-social anarchy in society.

Having read the complaints made against Priti Patel I cannot associate these with the MP I have had many dealings with over the years.

As a former local government officer and district councillor, I enlisted her help in my many frustrated dealings with departments of the Civil Service (who displayed a remarkable range of incompetence to ignorance).

She went out of her way to assist me in these contacts (as indeed did John Whittingdale MP, which shows how lucky we are in the Maldon District with our MPs).

I can understand Priti Patel’s total surprise at the content of the complaint and her obvious working frustration with the senior mandarins and staff at the Home Office. I would venture that a high proportion of these would not last two weeks in the private commercial sector. I think it is known as the “real world”.

Robert J S Long MBE

Former chairman, Maldon District Council