Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Priti Patel as the Home Minister on Wednesday, July 24. The appointment marks her comeback after she resigned as International Development Minister in 2017.
The Indian-origin Brexiteer, known for her outspoken criticism of former prime minister Theresa May, said that she is 'looking forward to Britain leaving the European Union' after her appointment was announced.
I am deeply honoured to be appointed as Home Secretary by our new Prime Minister @borisjohnson. Looking forward to working @ukhomeoffice to prepare our Country for leaving the EU, leading on matters of national security & public safety & keeping our borders secure.— Priti Patel MP (@patel4witham) July 24, 2019
She was born to Ugandan Indian parents who fled to the UK in the 1960s and established a small business in Britain. Having pursued her education at Keele University and the University of Essex, she worked for a public relations consultancy firm before shifting to politics. She also contested from Nottingham North at the 2005 general elections but was unsuccessful.
Patel's rise in political career began after she was elected as a Conservative MP for Witham in Essex in 2010. Under former prime minister David Cameron's government she championed the cause of the Indian diaspora.
The 47-year-old's prominence increased after she became the Treasury Minister in 2014, Employment Minister in 2015 and later the Secretary of State in the Department for International Development in 2016. She resigned from the Development Minister's position in 2017 after her undisclosed meeting with Israeli officials violated diplomatic protocol.
Patel led the 'Vote Leave' campaign in 2016 referendum in favour of Britain's exit from the EU. She also supported "Back Boris" campaign.
"With Boris Johnson leading the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister, the United Kingdom will have a Leader who believes in Britain, will implement a new vision for the future of the country and a roadmap to move forward and thrive as a self-governing nation that re-establishes our ties with our friends and allies around the world such as India," she told PTI after Boris won the 2019 UK elections.
With reference to improving UK-India ties she said that Boris is "committed to securing new and improved trading relationship with our friends in India and ensuring that the values we share - the rule of law, democracy, and dynamic entrepreneurial spirit should be at the heart of one of our most important partners on the global stage".
She is also known as one of the keen supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the UK. In a report on 'Building Bridges: Reawakening UK-India ties' released last month, she said that Uk is looking forward to 'bridge' relations and previous 'missed opportunities.'
"This should be a special relationship based upon the living bridge between our two great countries and a partnership we should be nurturing. The report covers many of the missed opportunities where the UK should be proactively and bilaterally enhancing our ties. We are soon to have a new PM in the UK, which will provide a welcome change in how we engage India's re-elected PM Modi," she said.
Born to Indian parents, Patel launched the "Save the British Curry" appeal in the EU referendum campaign that argued the immigration system help challenges faced by immigrants outside the EU and will help fill in the absence of chefs in Indian restaurants in the UK.
Patel's new appointment also marks her return as the senior-most Indian-origin member of the UK Cabinet.