Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Penny Mordaunt replaces Priti Patel in cabinet reshuffle

Penny Mordaunt replaces Priti Patel in cabinet reshuffle

Theresa May's office confirmed Thursday that Penny Mordaunt was appointed Britain's new minister for worldwide development.

Earlier this week, Patel was forced to apologise after the Department for International Development confirmed that she held at least a dozen meetings with Israeli officials.

It is the second mini-reshuffle in a week - after Ms Patel followed Sir Michael Fallon out of the Cabinet.

Penny Mordaunt, a former minister in the defence department and an outspoken supporter of Brexit, is expected to replace Priti Patel as worldwide development secretary, according to reports in the British media, following the Indian-origin politician's high-profile resignation late on Wednesday.

The promotion of a junior minister could also help placate younger members of the party, many of whom are angry at her mishandling of the snap election campaign and feel they should be given a chance to regenerate the party's support.

Since then, she has worked her way up through various roles.

"Leaving aside Penny Mordaunt's qualifications for the job, the main one is obviously that she's a Brexiteer".

Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt leaves 10 Downing Street, London, Britain, November 9, 2017.

May's choices for replacing Patel were restricted by her desire to maintain balance in her government between proponents and opponents of Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

Mordaunt, 44, is a pro-Brexit Conservative party MP for Portsmouth North who has held a number of junior ministerial posts, including the post of disability minister in the department for work and pensions from where she has now been promoted.

As International Development Secretary she will be in charge of the UK's £13bn foreign aid budget.

In total Patel revealed she had 12 meetings in Israel. A former aid worker in Romania before entering Parliament, and a former director of a diabetes charity that did work in India, Mordaunt on her parliamentary website lists her countries of interest as including India and the US.

Priti Patel has hit the headlines this week in a story that seems to have grown bigger each day.

Ms Patel had been summoned back to the United Kingdom from a visit to Africa by the PM after the furore around her undisclosed contact with senior figures in Israel.

"If you go into how did Priti Patel's visit come out in the first place, was it leaked by the Foreign Office, was it leaked by somebody at the Foreign Office who resented her and probably the Foreign Secretary's role in Brexit, you may find something".

If she is unable to prove her ability to pass legislation and govern effectively, the Conservative party - historically intolerant of weakened leaders - could seek to replace her, although there are now no clear candidates to do so.

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