Who is Priti Patel? New Home Secretary appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson

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THE revolving doors of Britain’s cabinet have brought Priti Patel back in to the fold.

The disgraced international development secretary has now been parachuted in to one of the great offices of state – here’s the latest.

Priti Patel has taken over Sajid Javid’s position as Home Secretary
Reuters

Who is Priti Patel?

Priti Patel was appointed Britain’s latest Home Secretary on July 24, 2019, replacing Sajid Javid, who was promoted to Chancellor.

PM Boris Johnson’s appointment is a Conservative MP who has served the Witham constituency in Essex since 2010.

The 47-year-old Brexiteer was forced to resign as International Development Secretary in November 2017 after holding 12 secret meetings in Israel without following protocol.

Priti is a long-standing supporter of Israel and a former vice-chairman of CFI.

Born in London to a Ugandan Indian migrant family and educated at a comprehensive school in Watford, Patel went on to study economics at Keele University before completing her postgraduate studies at the University of Essex.

In 2014, Priti was appointed as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and following the 2015 General Election was appointed as the new Minister for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions.

A longstanding Eurosceptic, Patel was a leading figure in the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 EU referendum.

Following David Cameron’s resignation, Patel backed PM Theresa May who subsequently appointed her as International Development Secretary in the summer of 2016.

The newly appointed Home Secretary is interviewed outside the Home Office
Getty Images – Getty

When did Priti Patel meet with Israeli politicians?

The meetings in Israel were held between August 13 and 15, 2017 while Patel was on holiday with her family.

The Department for International Development (Dfid) revealed that Patel held 12 meetings in 12 days including Benjamin Netanyahu, Gilad Erdan, the public security minister and Yair Lapid, leader of Israel’s centrist Yesh Atid party, without telling the foreign office in advance.

But she insisted that her trip had “nothing to do with foreign policy” saying the trip was “a family holiday paid for myself”, but admitted that, on returning, she had “commissioned departmental work on humanitarian and development partnership between Israel and the UK, and on disability”.

The meetings were arranged by Lord Polack, the honorary president of the lobbying group Conservative Friends of Israel – and UK government policy toward the Middle East ally was reportedly discussed.


Why was Priti Patel forced to apologise for her secret meetings in Israel?

Patel did not tell the Foreign Office before meeting with Israeli prime minister and other politicians, businesses and charities.

She appeared to have avoided the sack over the trip after admitting she had shown a “lack of precision” over the wording she used on Friday when she suggested that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson knew about it in advance.

She conceded that Boris was not told in advance and that she held 12 meetings rather than the two originally reported.

The revelations emerged while the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London this week to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration when Britain first gave its support for a national home for the Jewish people.

A spokesman for Patel said: “The Foreign Office are clear that UK interests were not damaged or affected by the meetings on this visit.”

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