Priti Patel QUITS as Home Secretary


Home secretary Priti Patel quit tonight just hours after Liz Truss was named the new Tory leader.

Ms Patel was widely expected to lose her job to Attorney General Suella Braverman when Ms Truss becomes prime minister and reshuffles the government tomorrow.

But she made a pre-emptive strike tonight, announcing she would return to the backbenches when her successor is unveiled.

Conservative Party co-chair Ben Elliott and Cabinet minister Nigel Adams also resigned ahead of Ms Truss’ inauguration tomorrow.

In a letter to Boris Johnson she said it had been ‘an honour and a privilege to serve’ but she would not seek to stay on. 

She has faced criticism over the scale of the Channel refugee crisis and the Rwanda deportation scheme, which has yet to take a single migrant to Africa. 

‘I congratulate Liz Truss on being elected our new leader, and will give her my support as our new prime minister,’ her letter to Boris Johnson said.

‘It is my choice to continue my public service to the country and the Witham constituency from the backbenches, once Liz formally assumes office and a new home secretary is appointed.’

Home secretary Priti Patel quit tonight just hours after Liz Truss was named the new Tory leader.

Ms Patel was widely expected to lose her job to Attorney General Suella Braverman when Ms Truss becomes prime minister and reshuffles the government tomorrow.

Ms Patel was widely expected to lose her job to Attorney General Suella Braverman when Ms Truss becomes prime minister and reshuffles the government tomorrow.

In a letter to Boris Johnson she said it had been 'an honour and a privilege to serve' but she would not seek to stay on.

In a letter to Boris Johnson she said it had been ‘an honour and a privilege to serve’ but she would not seek to stay on.

Ms Patel has told friends she is not interested in taking another job and was expected to return to the backbenches if she was offered a demotion. 

She considered her own run for the top job, chose to stay neutral in the race to avoid splitting the rightwing vote and in the hope that whoever succeeded Boris Johnson would keep her in post.

The tough-talking Home Secretary who courted controversy

Priti Patel had already courted controversy before she joined Boris Johnson’s Cabinet in 2019.

The Conservative MP for Witham since 2010 re-emerged from the backbenches when she was promoted to Home Secretary three years ago.

In 2017 she was forced to resign as international development secretary by then-prime minister Theresa May over unauthorised contacts with Israeli officials.

Known for talking tough on crime and depicted by critics as divisive, she attracted attention years earlier for her views.

In 2006 Ms Patel said she was in favour of the ‘ultimate punishment’ for the worst crimes and, during a Question Time debate in 2011, supported the death penalty – although she has since insisted her comments were taken out of context.

Mr Johnson himself described Ms Patel as a ‘hardline’ home secretary, even joking that, under her, the UK could become the ‘Saudi Arabia of penal policy’.

During the course of her tenure, Ms Patel has been accused of bullying staff; became embroiled in a war of words with France over tackling the growing numbers of migrants crossing the English Channel; was dogged by criticism from campaigners over a wave of sweeping immigration and asylum reforms amid accusations her policies were ‘anti-refugee’; and fell out of favour with the police amid a row over pay freezes.

But, among her supporters, the Home Secretary is praised for taking what is described as a fair but firm and no-nonsense approach on difficult subjects which prompt debate.

In April Ms Patel signed what she branded a ‘world-first’ agreement to send migrants deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally to Rwanda – a policy considered highly controversial among opponents, as well as some Conservatives, in light of concerns over the East African nation’s track record on human rights among other factors.

The first deportation flight – due to take off in June – was grounded amid legal challenges. The legality of the policy is being called into question in a High Court battle this week.

But she looked set to be replaced by Suella Braverman after several years of failure to deal with migrants crossing the Channel from France. 

At the end of August government figures showed more than 25,000 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK so far this year. It means 2022 is on course to be a record year for crossings in small boats.

It is more than four months since Ms Patel unveiled plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to deter people from crossing the Channel.

Since then 19,878 have arrived in the UK after making the journey.

This afternoon Ms Patel faced accusations of overseeing a rise in gun and knife crime as she defended her record.

As the Commons returned from the summer recess, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed ‘successive Conservative home secretaries’ are responsible for a ‘serious problem’ with violent crime.

Ms Patel faced questions about crime rates after several high-profile violent incidents over the summer, including the deaths of nine-year old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool and pensioner Thomas O’Halloran, 87, in London.

The Home Secretary said she is ‘proud’ of her time at the Home Office, which has seen ‘some of the biggest reforms on security, migration and public safety’.

Ms Cooper paid tribute to the families of those caught up in violent incidents in recent months and said: ‘Stabbings are now 60% higher than in 2015, yet the number of violent criminals caught is at a record low.

‘There is a serious problem in this country with gun crime, with gangs, with knife crime.

‘Not my words, but those of the incoming prime minister. So why have successive Conservative home secretaries allowed it to get this bad?’

Ms Patel responded by accusing Labour of not supporting the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which she said ‘had all the right deterrents in place to go after criminals’, while the Government has supported the police ‘every single step of the way’.

As Home Office questions began, she had said: ‘Before I answer today’s questions and start questions, if I may, I’d briefly like to remark on the last three years of Boris Johnson’s prime ministership under which I’ve served as Home Secretary.

‘This morning, a written ministerial statement was tabled in my name outlining the work of the Home Office, this department over the last three years on our manifesto commitment and with that, of course, some of the biggest reforms on security, migration and public safety which the Speaker’s (Sir Lindsay Hoyle) just spoken about.

‘I’m proud to serve in this Government and I’d like to thank the Prime Minister, Home Office ministers past and present and a wide range of officials.’

Ms Patel also told MPs the French are ‘friends’ as she discussed tackling Channel crossings, just weeks after incoming prime minister Ms Truss said during the Tory leadership race the ‘jury is out’ on whether President Emmanuel Macron is a ‘friend or foe’ to the UK.

The Home Secretary also defended the Government’s Rwanda policy, telling the Commons: ‘This partnership is very clear in terms of standards, the treatment of people that are relocated to Rwanda, the resources that are put in and also the processing of how every applicant is treated.’



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