Priti Patel to lead first Downing Street press conference since May

Home secretary Priti Patel. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

Home secretary Priti Patel. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Home Secretary Priti Patel will host a Downing Street press conference at 5pm, her first since May last year.

This would be the first time Patel addressed the nation since May 22.

During a previous appearance in April, Patel drew criticism for refusing to apologise for reports of failure to provide PPE to frontline NHS workers, instead opting to say she was "sorry if people felt there was a failure".

She created further fury when she began talking about the number of coronavirus tests being carried out at the time, claiming that there had been "three hundred thousand, and thirty four, nine hundred and seventy four thousand" tests for the virus.

Based on written information provided on the government's website, it would appear that she attempted to quote "334,974".

In another briefing, Patel baffled viewers with data on shoplifting rates.

MORE: Priti Patel slammed for avoiding media scrutiny during visit to Kent coastline

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In her second appearance in front of cameras at Downing Street since the coronavirus outbreak hit, the home secretary said there had been a fall in overall crime during the outbreak, with "car crime, burglary, shoplifting" lower than the same period last year.

Addressing criminals, she said: "Today I have a message for them. Our world-class law enforcement is also adapting, and they are on to you, and their efforts are paying off."

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Viewers were somewhat baffled by the declaration that people were stealing from shops less, given most are currently shut.

"Priti Patel just proudly informed us that shoplifting has fallen during the lockdown. Has anyone told her most shops are shut?", asked Piers Morgan.

"Good to hear from Priti Patel at Downing Street Briefing that shoplifting is down," wrote Nazir Afzal. "Nothing to do with all the shops being closed."

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