Priti Patel

Priti Patel

Credentials

  • Economics, Keele University. [1]
  • Postgraduate study in British government and politics, University of Essex. [1]

Background

Priti Patel is the UK‘s Home Secretary, as of July 2019, having been a Conservative MP for Witham in Essex since 2010. [2], [3]

Patel served as International Development Secretary between July 2016 and November 2017, a department she had previously said should be abolished. Patel resigned after she was revealed to have set up unauthorised meetings with senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [3], [4], [5]

Between 2014 and 2015, Patel was Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, before being appointed Minister of State for Employment. [3]

Patel has been a strong advocate for fracking, hitting out in an article on ConservativeHome at “parts of the green lobby and its eco-extremist followers” who she said should back fracking if they “genuinely believed in tackling climate change”. [6]

Patel played a leading role in the EU referendum, as a member of the campaign committee of Vote Leave, led by Taxpayers’ Alliance founder Matthew Elliott. [7]

Patel has described herself as a “massive Thatcherite” and is a member of the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, founded by now International Trade Secretary Liz Truss. The Free Enterprise Group has administrative support provided by the anti-regulation thinktank the Institute of Economic Affairs. Patel co-authored a book in 2012 with four other MPs in the group, including Truss and now Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, entitled “Britannia Unchained”. The book called for extreme deregulation and contained the line: “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world”. [8], [9], [10]

In February 2019, responding to the launch of the UK branch of Turning Point, a right-wing student group that rejects climate science and has been mired in racism scandals in the US, Patel tweeted: “A new generation standing up for political & economic freedoms & Conservative values & beliefs. Fantastic!” [11]

Patel has made a number of controversial comments during her time as an MP, including a call for the death penalty to be reinstated, on which she has since claimed to have changed her mind. She caused outrage in December 2018 by suggesting that Britain could use the threat of food shortages in Ireland as a tactic for securing a better Brexit deal from the EU. [12], [13]

A life-long Brexiteer, Patel was previously a member of the Eurosceptic Referendum Party, founded in 1994 by Sir James Goldsmith, the father of Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith. Patel led the party’s press office between 1995 and 1997. [14], [1]

Patel subsequently went on to work for then leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague, before moving to the PR firm Shandwick. At Shandwick, Patel was part of a team tasked with lobbying against EU tobacco regulations and working to improve the image of British American Tobacco, which at the time jointly owned a factory with Burma’s military dictatorship. [15], [16]

Patel stood unsuccessfully in the 2005 general election in the Nottingham North constituency. [17]

Stance on Climate Change

April 6, 2018

In an article entitled “Countries cannot power their way to prosperity on renewables alone”, published by CapX, a website run by the Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies, Patel wrote: [18]

“Developing countries with fossil fuels are very clear that when push comes to shove, they will always prioritise development over emissions reduction. So if we want to deliver the Paris Agreement, helping them use fossil fuels more cleanly is the only game in town.”

Patel went on to describe efforts to help developing countries avoid relying on fossil fuels as “anti-development restrictions” which should be ended, while arguing that “coal with CCS [carbon capture and storage] is vital for tackling climate change”. [18]

Key Quotes

August 26, 2013

In an article for ConservativeHome, Patel wrote: [6]

“The recent anti-fracking protests in Balcombe have shown how parts of the green lobby and its eco-extremist followers have lost all interest in reason. Their dogmatic obsession with opposing efforts to take advantage of new fuel sources, threatening behaviour and acts of civil disobedience not only costs taxpayers money in policing costs and property damages, but it also exposes their naivety and the green lobby’s inability to make credible arguments.

“If the green lobby genuinely believed in tackling climate change they would be more open minded to the benefits of extracting shale gas in the UK.” [6]

Key Actions

May 22, 2021

The Daily Mail reported that Patel had requested Hertfordshire’s Chief Constable put an end to an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in September 2020. The protest involved 50 climate change activists blocking the circulation of 3.5 million copies of newspapers including the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Sun at a Rupert Murdoch-owned printing site. [23]

Six protesters were subsequently convicted of willfully blocking the highway, appearing in court on May 17, 2021. They were reportedly fined and given conditional discharges.

April 29, 2021

Patel commented on the trial of three Extinction Rebellion protesters who had blocked printworks near Liverpool and Glasgow in an attempt to halt the deliveries of national newspapers during September 2020. 

She stated: “The free Press is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the disruptive and frankly dangerous tactics deployed by these individuals last year were totally unacceptable,” The Sun reported. [24]

October 6, 2020

Speaking at the Conservative Party virtual conference, Patel condemned the “hooliganism and thuggery” of Extinction Rebellion protesters, claiming there was “no excuse” for their behaviour. [22]

September 7, 2020

Patel ordered a review of a law that could designate Extinction Rebellion as an organised crime gang, meaning that protestors would face up to 5 years in prison. Writing for the Daily Mail, she stated that protestors should “face the full force of the law” for seeking to “undermine and cause damage to our society”. Patel added: “We must defend ourselves against this attack on capitalism, our way of life and ultimately our freedoms”.

Extinction Rebellion responded that it does not fit the Government’s own definition of organised crime, which is “characterised by violence or the threat of violence and by the use of bribery and corruption”. [21]

January 9, 2020

Patel registered a donation of £3,000 from Michael Hintze, one of the few known donors of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. [19]

Patel also registered a donation of £2,000 from Jon Moynihan, former trustee for the Institute of Economic Affairs. [19], [20]

February 3, 2019

Responding to the launch of the UK branch of Turning Point, a right-wing student group that rejects climate science and has been mired in racism scandals in the US, Patel tweeted: “A new generation standing up for political & economic freedoms & Conservative values & beliefs. Fantastic!” [11]

December 7, 2018

Patel caused outrage by suggesting that Britain could use the threat of food shortages in Ireland as a tactic for securing a better Brexit deal from the EU. [13]

August 2012

Patel co-authored a book with four other MPs from the Free Enterprise Group, including now International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng. The controversial book, entitled “Britannia Unchained”, called for extreme deregulation and contained the line: “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world”. [10]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Resources

  1. Profile: Priti Patel,” BBC News, November 8, 2017. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/yZyAS
  2. Mat Hope, Richard Collett-White. “Is Boris Johnson’s Cabinet the Most Anti-Climate Action Ever?DeSmog, July 25, 2019
  3. The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP,” Gov.uk. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/4hoVG
  4. Jon Stone. “The new International Development Secretary wanted to scrap what is now her department,” Independent, July 14, 2016. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/L5yGu
  5. Priti Patel quits cabinet over Israel meetings row,” BBC News, November 8, 2017. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/mp5wm
  6. Priti Patel. “The Government must hold firm against anti-fracking extremists,” ConservativeHome, August 26, 2013. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/NhoAw
  7. Matthew d’Ancona. “The Vote Leave gang now running Britain do not want to govern. They want to win,” Guardian, July 29, 2019. Archived August 22, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/YAdAG
  8. Sebastian Whale. “Priti Patel: The Conservative party is retreating from the battle of ideas,” Politics Home, June 1, 2018. Archived August 22, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/4lrQF
  9. Homepage,” Free Enterprise Group. Archived August 13, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  10. Tackle ‘lazy’ Britain, fellow Tories tell David Cameron,” Evening Standard, August 17, 2012. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Fq3r1
  11. Peter Walker. “Tory MPs back youth group with apparent links to US far right,” Guardian, February 4, 2019. Archived August 22, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Wa9Bc
  12. David Singleton. “Priti Patel finally changes her mind on the death penalty,” Total Politics, September 14, 2016. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/re1yk
  13. Benjamin Kentish. “Britain should highlight risk of economic damage in Ireland to get better Brexit deal, suggests Priti Patel,” Independent, December 7, 2018. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Gjf27
  14. Charles Hymas. “Profile: Priti Patel could be hardest line Home Secretary for years,” Telegraph, July 24, 2019. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/zEUXs
  15. Question Time: This week’s panel,” BBC News, March 15, 2007. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/3zBJ7
  16. Jamie Doward. “Minister worked as spin doctor for tobacco giant that paid workers £15 a month,” Guardian, May 31, 2015. Archived August 21, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Byee1
  17. Rt Hon Priti Patel MP,” Parliament.uk. Archived August 22, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/6ONlH
  18. Priti Patel. “Countries cannot power their way to prosperity on renewables alone,” CapX, April 6, 2018. Archived August 22, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/wcVCT
  19. Register of Members’ Financial Interests – as at 10 February 2020,” UK ParliamentArchived March 4, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  20. Institute of Economic Affairs appoints Jon Moynihan OBE to its Board of Trustees,” IEA, June 5, 2018. Archived March 4, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/ilpyO
  21. Jason Groves, “Extinction Rebellion zealots could face five years in jail: Priti Patel threatens to change law to make Extinction Rebellion a criminal gang so tougher sentences can be handed out” The Daily Mail, September 6, 2020. Archived on 07 September 2020. Wayback url: https://bit.ly/2Zhlzl0 
  22. Imogen Braddick. “Priti Patel condemns ‘thuggery’ of Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protests in Tory speech”, The Evening Standard, October 5, 2020. Archived October 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/wip/fvNtW 
  23. Andrew Levy. “Priti Patel ‘lobbied police chief to end Extinction Rebellion demo at newspaper printworks’, court hears,” Daily Mail, May 22, 2021. Archived May 24, 2021. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/BId0V 
  24. Ben Hill. “’DISRUPTIVE AND DANGEROUS’ Priti Patel slams Extinction Rebellion activists who blocked printing presses as they are cleared due to a technicality,” The Sun, April 29, 2021. Archived May 4, 2021. Archive.ph URL: https://archive.ph/qpQEt 

Other Resources

Image credit: UK Prime Minister/Flickr/CC BYNCSA 2.0

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