Supposedly one of the Tories’ great hopes for the future, international development secretary Priti Patel, who has represented the unfortunate voters of the Witham constituency since 2010, has passed before my inspection once before. Then, she was advocating an “Australian-style points system” for migrants. The problem with her argument was that it was easily defeated by reference to the real world.
Priti Patel - rumbled by the Beeb
Ms Patel is not the sharpest tool in the box, but she does know how to score More And Bigger Self-Promotion Opportunities For Herself Personally Now. Hence her elevation to leadership material status by the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun - she will say whatever they want in order to (a) score a suitably-sized paycheque, and (b) promote the interests and prejudices of the Murdoch mafiosi.
That much is bad enough for someone tipped for the highest office, but there is worse in the skeleton cupboard. Ms Patel was the subject of an Observer exposé headlined “Minister worked as spin doctor for tobacco giant that paid workers £15 a month”. She “was part of a team of spin doctors paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to help a tobacco giant counter negative publicity, including that surrounding its joint venture with one of the world’s most brutal military regimes”.
British American Tobacco (BAT) had a joint venture with the Military dictatorship in Myanmar - so they were helping to fund all the brutality. Things got so bad that BAT pulled out of the venture in 2003. Priti Patel was part of the PR machine backing it.
And now has come something much worse: “The International Development Secretary held undisclosed meetings in Israel without telling the Foreign Office while accompanied by an influential pro-Israeli Conservative lobbyist, the BBC has learned … Priti Patel met the leader of one of Israel's main political parties and made visits to several organisations where official departmental business was reportedly discussed”.
So what is wrong about this? “According to one source, at least one of the meetings was held at the suggestion of the Israeli ambassador to London … In contrast, British diplomats in Israel were not informed about Ms Patel's plans … Ministers are by convention supposed to tell the Foreign Office when they are conducting official business overseas”. As a result, “the meetings could have broken the ministerial code of conduct”.
Not only that, Ms Patel’s attempts to further restrict the aid given by the UK to the Palestinian Territories are well known and the subject of friction within her department. As the BBC’s report admits, “The fear among some Tory MPs is that Ms Patel also used the trip to discuss reducing her department's support for Palestinian groups”.
Conducting her own off-the-cuff foreign policy is bad enough. Using her position to disturb the delicate balance of the UK’s position in the Middle East is worse. And all the time, the interpretations point to her using her position, and the visit in question, to get potential donors on-side for a future Tory leadership contest.
Priti Patel is not only not fit to be Tory Leader, she is not fit to be trusted with any kind of ministerial office. She is unfit to serve and should be removed from Parliament.