ibusinesslines.com July 20, 2018

Penny Mordaunt named as Priti Patel's replacement as International Development Secretary

09 November 2017, 07:58 | Jodi Jackson

Image Apparent contender Penny Mordaunt leaves Number 10. File pic

Penny Mordaunt

British Prime Minster Theresa May replaced Priti Patel with Penny Mordaunt as the UK's new global development minister Thursday, a day after the Indian-origin MP resigned over her unauthorised secret meetings with Israeli politicians while on a holiday in the Jewish country.

Patel failed to tell either May or the U.K. Foreign Office that she would be having 12 meetings with officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a 13-day holiday in Israel in August.

The 44-year-old Brexiteer was promoted in a mini-reshuffle of Conservative MPs after Ms Patel's departure - the Government's second Cabinet resignation in less than a week.

Ms Mordaunt is a Royal Naval Reservist operating out of a base in her constituency.

Penny Mordaunt, an MP for Portsmouth North has since taken the role. "Feel free to beat me up over it".

In 2014 she appeared on the TV reality show Splash, donating her appearance fee from the diving contest to charitable causes.

Responding to the appointment, Labour's shadow global development secretary, Kate Osamor, called on Mordaunt to "unequivocally commit to the spirit, as well as the letter, of Britain's pledge to spend 0.7% of national income on worldwide development, and face down those in her party who want to merge [the Department for global Development] into the the Foreign and Commonwealth Office".

Ms Mordaunt was summoned to Downing Street on Thursday afternoon to learn of her promotion.

Finally, one of the key functions of any anticipated reshuffle by the Prime Minister is to bring forward new talent from the 2010 and 2015 intakes to help the Party achieve the very hard task of renewing itself whilst in office.

There had been concerns among commenters that whoever replaced Ms Patel - who had also backed Brexit - might upset the balance of support within the Cabinet.

It would have made her the first female defence secretary in history - however, she was passed over in favour of chief whip Gavin Williamson, a decision which sparked a backlash over his lack of experience in the area.

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