Former Home Secretary Priti Patel has threatened to sue her successor Suella Braverman in a row over migrant policy.
After being told Ms Braverman's Home Office had put the blame for overcrowding at Manston asylum processing centre in Kent on her, Ms Patel is understood to have phoned Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and said if Ms Braverman did not retract the claim within an hour she would start legal action for defamation.
It is the latest twist in a 'cold war' between the two, with allies of Ms Patel claiming she is being 'scapegoated' for policy failures associated with the small boats crisis.
A source said: 'Priti worked round the clock when she was Home Secretary to tackle this problem and erupted when she was told that her record was being criticised. Simon Case had to calm her down.'
Tensions between Ms Braverman and Ms Patel came to a head over claims that a failure to book sufficient hotels for migrants led to overcrowding at Manston processing centre, with Ms Patel blamed for making the process more bureaucratic than it need be.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick told the Commons he inherited an overflowing Manston after 'insufficient accommodation was procured over a sustained period'.
Ms Patel denies this, insisting she had not made any changes to the hotel booking system.
Rishi Sunak has made ending the tide of people crossing the Channel on small boats and then claiming asylum one of his top five policy priorities. Earlier this month, he introduced new laws which he says will finally put a brake on the 'human rights' farce which allows migrants to resist deportation from the UK.
A clause in the Illegal Migration Bill, introduced to the Commons by Ms Braverman, is intended to circumvent provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights which have allowed murderers, terrorists, paedophiles and hate preachers to dodge deportation.
One of Ms Patel's backbench allies said that her migration reforms when she was at the Home Office had not been implemented 'because certain members of the last Government did not support this work and spent their time derailing it'.
In October, Ms Braverman criticised a deal with India, signed by Ms Patel, to increase the number of illegal migrants and overstayers being returned to the country, saying the agreement 'has not necessarily worked very well'.
A Government source dismissed the idea of Mrs Braverman being sued by one of her predecessors as 'a bit odd'.
But separately, allies of the Home Secretary told the Mail on Sunday that Mrs Braverman had never publicly criticised Ms Patel and would not do so.
They also rejected as 'totally wrong' any suggestion that she had briefed against Ms Patel privately.
Ms Patel declined to comment.Read more 2023-03-18T22:33:18Z dg43tfdfdgfd