Boris Johnson expected to appoint Priti Patel as new home secretary; all you need to know about Indian-origin MP from Essex

Britain's incoming prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to will promote Indian-origin politician Priti Patel to the top of government as he builds a Cabinet to sell an optimistic vision of Brexit to “modern Britain”. Patel is likely to get the post as the home secretary in the new Cabinet on Wednesday.

The 47-year-old who was a Member of Parliament (MP) from Witham in Essex since 2010 and former international development secretary had been sacked from her post by former prime minister Theresa May for holding official meetings in Israel during a “family holiday”.

According to Reuters, Johnson's cabinet choices will help to figure out how he intends to manage the world's fifth-largest economy and its divorce from the EU at one of the most fateful moments in its modern history."Boris will build a Cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain," a source close to Johnson said.

 Boris Johnson expected to appoint Priti Patel as new home secretary; all you need to know about Indian-origin MP from Essex

File image of Priti Patel. Flickr.

A record number of ethnic minority politicians are to be expected to serve as ministers including Priti Patel and Indian-born employment minister Alok Sharma.

'Political career'

According to TheyWorkForYou, (parliamentary monitoring website by mySociety which aims to make it easier for UK citizens to understand what is going on in Westminster, as well as the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly), Patel had entered the House of Commons on 6 May, 2010. She became a MP for Witham, as an first female Asian MP of the Conservative Party board in 2010.

Priti Patel was born in the London borough of Harrow to Gujarati parents who fled Uganda in the 1960s. Her education was completed at Watford Grammar School for Girls. She also voted against gay marriage, and had previously advocated bringing back the death penalty, before later saying she did not support it.

Patel was also one of the few MPs to support capital punishment and against prisoners having the right to vote in UK. She also had a hard stance on immigration and asylum, while her own record on voting in Parliament has shown support higher tuition fees in education institutions and defence and is in favour of reducing spending benefits.

The Guardian reported that Patel had led a rebellion against plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes while she was chairing a parliamentary group whose secretariat was provided by two tobacco industry-funded organisations back in 2014.

She has since rejected plans for plain packaging on cigarettes, and voted in favour of relaxing the smoking ban for pubs and private members’ clubs in the Commons.

'Secret meeting with Iranian officials'

The Times had reported that in 2017, Patel, during her tenure as international development secretary, met Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, during her 'family vacation', along with Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister for public security and strategic affairs, one of Israel’s biggest critics of the UN. This took place weeks before the British government threatened to remove UN funding from Israel.

BBC report states that Patel, a long-standing supporter of Israel and a former vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel,  had 12 meetings, including one with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during her vacation.

Though at the time of her resignation, Patel had admitted that her actions “fell below the high standards that are expected of a Secretary of State.”

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 24, 2019 15:41:20 IST