Brexiteer and Boris Johnson loyalist Priti Patel set for top cabinet job
PUBLISHED: 13:13 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:16 24 July 2019
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Arch-Brexiteer Priti Patel is expected to be awarded a plum frontbench job when Boris Johnson appoints his cabinet.
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Johnson has promised a "cabinet for modern Britain", which would include at least one woman among the most high-profile ministerial jobs.
The Times has reported that Patel is being tipped as home secretary. The MP for Witham, who leans towards the right of the party and has ardently supported Johnson throughout his leadership campaign, was forced to resign as minister for international development for having unauthorised contacts with Israeli officials in 2017.
Ardent Brexiteer and admirer of Thatcher, she sits on the right of the party. She has been an ever-present talking head in defence of Johnson throughout the many scandals that dogged his leadership campaign. When police were called to the candidate's home after neighbours heard an almighty row, Patel defended Johnson's "private life", calling the reports "politically motivated". She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that recording the noise, which the neighbours say they had done out of concern, was the "type of behaviour associated with the old eastern bloc".
Condemnation of this kind from Johnson supporters led anti-domestic abuse organisations to reissue public advice on reporting potential abuse.
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She caused a storm during Theresa May's Brexit negotiations in 2018 by appearing to suggest that the UK use potential food shortages in a no-deal scenario as leverage in negotiations with Ireland. Commenting on a government report about food supplies in the republic, she said: "This paper appears to show the government were well aware Ireland will face significant issues in a no-deal scenario. Why hasn't this point been pressed home during negotiations?"
She was forced to resign from May's cabinet in 2017, when she held meetings between the president of Conservative Friends of Israel and several organisations in Israel, including the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party. The BBC reported that these meetings, which discussed official departmental business, were held at the suggestion of the Israeli ambassador to London, but both the foreign office and British diplomats in Israel were kept in the dark about them.
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