Penny Mordaunt replaces Priti Patel as International Development Secretary

Work and Pensions minister Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as the new International Development Secretary.

Work and Pensions minister Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as the new International Development Secretary.

Ms Mordaunt, the minister for the disabled, has replaced Priti Patel following her resignation on Wednesday over unauthorised meetings with senior Israelis.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Like Ms Patel, she campaigned for Brexit in the EU referendum and her appointment will maintain the balance between Leavers and Remainers in the Cabinet.

Home Office minister Sarah Newton is promoted to take Ms Mordaunt’s place at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Read More
Under-fire Priti Patel resigns after meeting with Theresa May

Victoria Atkins, who entered Parliament in 2015, joins the Government for the first time as a new Home Office minister.

Ms Mordaunt made no comment to reporters as she left Downing Street following her meeting with Theresa May to head to her new department.

For Labour, shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor said: “The new Secretary of State faces an immediate challenge of restoring integrity to British international development policy after the actions of Priti Patel.

“That means she must unequivocally commit to the spirit, as well as the letter, of Britain’s pledge to spend 0.7% of national income on international development, and face down those in her party who want to merge DfID into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“Unlike Priti Patel, who too often used the department to prop up her personal networks and leadership ambitions, Mordaunt must also quickly commit to the central cause of the department: to help the world’s poorest.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson also called on Ms Mordaunt to distance herself from her predecessor.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Development aid is vital to saving lives, removing people from abject poverty, and improving the lives of others across the globe. The UK should be proud of the role we play.

“Having an International Development Secretary who does not dismiss the entire concept of international aid must be the first qualification for the job.

“Penny Mordaunt must immediately distance herself from her predecessor in this regard.”

The appointment of Ms Mordaunt - a Royal Naval reservist who famously appeared on ITV’s Splash! - was widely expected.

Her credentials as Brexiteer were underlined by her support for Andrea Leadsom in last year’s Conservative leadership contest.

When Ms Leadsom pulled out, leaving Mrs May to become Prime Minister, Ms Mordaunt was moved sideways from her previous position as armed forces minister to work and pensions.