DfID names international development secretary following Patel resignation

9 Nov 17

Penny Mordaunt will join the UK cabinet as the new secretary of state for international development, following the resignation of Priti Patel. 

Patel quit her role yesterday, admitting that her unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials during her private holiday in September had “lacked transparency”. 

In the attempts to keep the balance between Brexiteers and Remainers, prime minister Theresa May promoted the female leave-supporter and minister for the disabled to secretary of state today. 

Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North and a Royal Navy reservist, voted for equal gay rights, against the smoking ban and has generally voted against ‘laws to promote equality and human rights’

She was appointed as the first female minister for the Armed Forces in 2015 and first elected to the Commons in 2010. 

In response to the new international development secretary, experts from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said: “We hope that Penny Mordaunt will be receptive to building a strong working, evidence-based, partnership that prioritises the needs of the most vulnerable whilst stridently defending the UK’s role in, and benefits from, a commitment to international development.”

In her resignation letter, Patel said: “While my actions were meant with the best intensions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated.”

In response to the resignation, Global Justice Now’s campaigns and policy manager, Aisha Dodwell, said Patel has been “unfit to manage the country’s aid programme”.

“From tripling the dubious CDC Group’s budget to failing to halt the march of fatcat private contractors, she didn’t appear to understand the purpose of aid or even believe in her department’s mission.

“Now she has gone too far with her suggestions of aid for the Israeli army, and it is right that she has stepped down,” she said.

Dodwell was referring to Patel’s expanded CDC strategy in an attempt to “lift countries out of poverty” and end aid dependency last month.

DFiD also announced a review on excessive charges and unscrupulous practices of aid suppliers last month. 

Patel's was the second cabinet resignation in a week. Gavin Williamson replaced Sir Michael Fallon as defence secretary after he left his position over allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour. 

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