Priti patel

Priti and Truss back MPs over Beijing’s threats

Most Tories are focusing on the leadership race but for some there are other concerns. Take the five MPs who last year were sanctioned by the Chinese state. Tom Tugendhat, Neil O’Brien, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Nusrat Ghani and Tim Loughton were among a group of nine UK citizens to face sanctions in March for raising awareness of China’s human rights abuses against Ughur Muslim. Having banned this group from entering China, there are fears that Beijing will now try to seek revenge on them through other means too. One possible mechanism is by the exploitation of Interpol, the global police agency now feared to be acting in Chinese state

Who will Priti Patel endorse?

Priti Patel is not running for the Tory leadership. The Home Secretary ruled herself out in a statement released minutes ago. Her decision not to stand makes it much more likely that Suella Braverman can get the nominations needed to get on the ballot and the 30 votes required to stay in the contest. Patel does not say who she is going to back herself. But the speculation is that it will be either Nadhim Zahawi or Liz Truss rather than Braverman, her rival for the support of the ERG. Patel’s support would be an adrenalin shot for the Zahawi campaign which is not yet at 20 publicly declared backers.

Why the Met Police keeps failing

Much has been made of the decision to place the Metropolitan Police in what is often referred to as special measures, where it joins five other forces from England and Wales. The many ways in which the Met has fallen short have also been amply aired, from the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer to the botched investigation of serial killer Stephen Port, to the racist and sexist mindset laid bare at some London police stations. Many crime rates in the capital have been rising sharply, as – naturally – has public dissatisfaction. Nor should the blame game that has broken out between the Home Office and the

Theresa May attacks Patel over Rwanda

All eyes are on the Commons this afternoon for Boris Johnson’s imminent statement on partygate. But before the fun starts at five, Priti Patel offered up an appetiser to whet the appetite, appearing before MPs to justify her new-fangled Rwanda immigration policy. The Home Secretary was in a buoyant mood, calmly rebutting the attacks of indignant Labour members. Until, that is, the familiar figure of Theresa May clambered to her feet to hurl down another thunderbolt from on high in her usual spot on the third row of the backbenches.  Like Ted Heath in kitten heels, May’s unhelpful interventions have become a bi-monthly tradition for the former Prime Minister to

Gove is clearing up Patel’s mess

Michael Gove has a reputation as a minister for clearing up colleagues’ messes – often the secretary of state he has replaced in a department – in a polite but very conspicuous fashion. Today it was Home Secretary Priti Patel’s turn to see what it was like to get a visit from Gove and his dustpan and brush. As Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, Gove is responsible for one of the routes by which Ukrainian refugees can come to Britain, and he announced the details of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme in the Commons this afternoon. This has largely been passed to him because the Home Office is in such


Priti’s battle against tech giants backfires

Priti Patel is not a fan of big tech. The Home Secretary has spent much of her three years in office decrying the giants of Silicon Valley, frequently railing against the likes of Facebook, TikTok and Twitter for various failings. She’s ordered them to remove posts promoting illegal Channel crossings, ‘live up to their moral duty’ by tackling online child abuse and attacked them for publishing ‘appalling hate’ on their platforms. Her department has also mooted banning online anonymity and proposed an advertising campaign which criticises Facebook for daring to use end-to-end encryption for its messages. Given all the dastardly things which occur on their platforms, just who exactly is funding such firms? Turns out the answer

Why is Britain so useless at helping Ukrainian refugees?

Some MPs were in tears yesterday when President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the House of Commons, and understandably so, given the soaring rhetoric and bravery of a man who knows his days on earth could be numbered.  One kind interpretation is that the caseworkers at the Home Office haven’t been trained sufficiently for them to use the initiative But across Westminster over the past few days, MPs and their constituency teams have also been crying tears of frustration at the Home Office’s handling of the visa application process. Not only has there been intense confusion between the different arms of government about how many routes there are for refugees – with

Priti’s failed crackdown on foreign criminals

Priti Patel likes to talk a good game on foreign crooks. In numerous tweets and briefings, she’s railed against those who ‘poison our communities, ruin lives and cash in on vulnerable people,’ as part of the Witham MP’s war on crime. But when it comes to deporting those convicted of crimes, it seems that the Home Secretary’s record doesn’t exactly match up to her rhetoric, judging by new figures obtained by Mr S. For the number of serious offenders being deported from Britain has dropped by 65 per cent over the past five years – despite Patel’s promises of a ‘crackdown’ to overhaul the legal system.  Home Office statistics obtained under the Freedom of

Priti’s drugs war goes up in smoke

One of the many things Priti Patel brought with her to the Home Office was a renewed focus on the ‘war on drugs’. Since her appointment in 2019, the Witham MP has made her distaste for substance abuse clear, accompanying police on house raids, deporting foreign dealers, declaring war on ‘county lines’ gangs and threatening ‘tough action’ on laughing gas. But is all that being let down by Dominic Raab and his colleagues over at the Ministry of Justice? For the number of drug incidents in Britain’s prisons have skyrocketed by more than 350 per cent over the last seven years, with MOJ figures published this week showing the total recorded in Britain’s prisons has

Priti Patel and the progressive language police

There was an exchange in the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon that ought to be a scandal but won’t. It ought to be a scandal because it involves a Cabinet minister undertaking to do something that, in any other context, would bring waves of condemnation from across the House. It won’t because the scandalous thing the minister pledged to do is endorsed by Good People with Good Intentions and could only be decried by Bad People with Bad Intentions. The minister was Priti Patel and she was being questioned about the deaths of 27 migrants who attempted to enter Britain via the English Channel. The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara said

Even Boris’s supporters are turning against him

Perhaps the past seven chaotic weeks are best regarded as an experiment by the Tories. Boris Johnson’s intention appears to be to establish just how badly he can run the country while remaining on course for re-election. Despite calamity after calamity hitting Boris’s administration, things are still looking rosy for the party: Politico‘s poll of polls shows that we are basically back where we were this time last year – at pretty much level-pegging between the Conservatives and Labour. There is no sign of the kind of positive surge in support for the opposition that would indicate the electorate is considering putting it into power.  A year ago – on 24 November, 2020

Priti Patel’s Hamas ban doesn’t go far enough

It’s been a rough old week for Hamas. The UK announced plans to proscribe the organisation, Justin Bieber ignored its call to cancel his 2022 concert in Tel Aviv, and even the recently friendly Labour party has vowed that it ‘does not and will not support BDS’. One minute, you’re going about your business, trying to drive the Jews into the sea, and the next you’re being treated like you’re the bad guy. Priti Patel’s decision to add Hamas to the Home Office list of terrorist organisations corrects a 20-year-old error which saw the Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades — Hamas’s paramilitary wing — outlawed in 2001 but the rest of

I’m getting sick of the Tories

I suppose this happens to all of us at different speeds, but I am getting a little fed up of this government. In particular, I am getting fed up of the gap between its rhetoric and its actions. Most of the time this is most noticeable with the Prime Minister, who gives his base the occasional morsel of right-wingery only to then force-feed them great dollops of lefty-greenery. On a trip to Washington, Priti Patel has demonstrated that she is also no stranger to this tactic. So far we have had Patel (the DC version) talk about ‘the mass migration crisis’, as though she is merely an observer of the crisis

James Forsyth

Why the Channel migrant crisis is spooking Boris

The Tory position in the polls is weakening. Partly this is because of the vaccine bounce wearing off and a fortnight or so of sleaze stories. But, as I write in the Times today, ministers thinks that there’s another issue harming the government: small boats. ‘The sleaze is bad, but the issue that causes me most trouble with my constituents is the boats,’ says one cabinet member. Johnson himself has long been concerned about this problem. He worries about the sense of disorder that the small boats convey: he thinks they make a mockery of ‘taking back control’ of the borders. A long-serving No. 10 aide says that ‘other than Covid, no issue

Terror threat level raised to ‘severe’

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has just announced that the terror threat level has been raised to ‘severe’ meaning that another attack is now considered ‘highly likely’. The move comes after yesterday’s explosion in Liverpool was declared to be a ‘terrorist incident’. Speaking after a Cobra meeting, Patel confirmed that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre had raised the threat level following the Liverpool attack.  The Home Secretary said that the decision had been taken because two terror attacks had been confirmed in the last month, the former being the murder of MP Sir David Amess. Patel told reporters:  The Prime Minister has this afternoon just chaired a Cobra meeting and I attended that meeting

Rishi in, Keir out: 2020’s most popular baby names

Once the popularity of politicians was judged by how many babies they were asked to kiss – now it’s by how many kids are named after them. The Office for National Statistics has today revealed the most popular baby names for 2020, with Oliver and Olivia remaining the most popular names for boys and girls in England and Wales for the fifth consecutive year. Mothers aged 35 years and over continued to choose more traditional names, while younger mothers opted for more modern and shortened names. But none of that matters here in Westminster where all eyes were (naturally) combing the ONS figures to see how many new mothers and fathers have chosen to

Home Office in drug crackdown hypocrisy

Since being appointed to the post of Home Secretary, Priti Patel has made her distaste for drugs clear. During the past two years the Witham MP has accompanied police on house raids, deported foreign dealers, declared war on ‘county lines’ gangs and threatened ‘tough action’ on laughing gas.  There have been repeated departmental briefings to newspapers about crackdowns on ‘middle class drug-users,’ with Patel herself telling broadcasters that ‘there’s no such thing as dabbling in drugs, these are serious offences’ – a statement which presumably caused some discomfort among certain ministerial colleagues. Her rapturously received address to the Tory faithful on Tuesday highlighted the Home Office’s anti-drugs crusade once again. Patel railed against narcotics for being ‘responsible for the

Priti Patel strikes a bullish tone

The theme of Priti Patel’s party conference speech this afternoon was very much ‘large and in charge’. She devoted much of her address to talking about the immigration system, as you’d expect, promising stronger crackdowns on people being smuggled across the Channel in boats. Patel focused on the Vote Leave favourite: taking back control Whereas Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have talked about Britain ‘voting for change’ in 2016, Patel focused on the Vote Leave favourite: taking back control. She told the conference hall this was the key theme of her reforms to immigration, saying: ‘My new plan for immigration is already making its way through parliament. At the heart of

Patrick O'Flynn

The powerlessness of Priti Patel

It is hard not to feel sorry for Priti Patel. She would surely have been a Tory conference darling at the gathering that never happened back in autumn 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Back then she always came towards the top of cabinet ministers’ popularity in the monthly survey conducted by the Conservative Home website. But this year the Home Secretary’s ratings have dropped like a stone. She currently sits in 29th place, staring up in envy at such magnetic figures as Alok Sharma and Alister Jack and without even the comfort of knowing that there is always Gavin Williamson to look down on. In the mini-hall being used

Boris and Priti can’t blame France for the Channel migrant crisis

The sun is beating down again, the waves are less choppy in the English Channel and the small boats full of irregular migrants are pouring across once more. At least 1,000 men, women and children were reportedly spotted landing on the south coast yesterday. If these numbers are correct, it would have shattered the previous daily record of 828, recorded on 21 August. But Home Office sources were today briefing that was an over-estimate and the likely official number will be about 740, merely the second highest daily total ever. The graphs plotting the staggering acceleration of this traffic make grim reading indeed – this is one curve that has never