In defence of Priti Patel
The appointment of Priti Patel as Home Secretary has met with a profusion of disgruntled pessimists on social media. The resurfacing of her views on Capital Punishment and a reminder of her controversial dealings during her time as International Development Secretary, has given rise to an anti-Patel agenda.
Views regarding Priti Patel, however, must be balanced. Despite her controversies, Patel is undoubtedly a shrewd and intelligent politician, who has a clear focus and agenda; matching that of the new Prime Minister.
Charisma aside, when assessing Priti’s views on punishment, it might be possible to predict what her governing agenda may be as Home Secretary. Whilst she is unlikely to pursue the legalisation of Capital Punishment, it is likely that she will pursue a much harder line when tackling crime and punishment. This is something we should welcome. Following the recent rise in crime in the United Kingdom, Patel’s more rigid and perhaps eccentric views on criminal punishment may be welcome and might even provide the necessary impetus for change required to keep the citizens of this country safe.
Another key factor to consider when assessing Patel’s appointment is the importance of her background. Ian Duncan-Smith explained the importance for Johnson to appoint people that represent ‘the changing nature of Britain’. As a British Indian woman, Priti can be somebody who represents the already large, and continuously growing BAME section of society. Within this community itself, British Asians make up a total of 6.92% of the British population, compared to those from Black African and Black Afro-Caribbean backgrounds making up only 3.01%. The need for descriptive representation is important and Priti’s appointment to a leading Ministerial position, as well as the appointment of five other BAME MPs to important positions; namely Sajid Javid, James Cleverly, Rishi Sunak, Kwasi Kwarteng and Alok Sharma, must be noted. 17% of the entire cabinet is now made up of BAME Ministers, as well as two more Ministers who will attend cabinet. This is a record for any government and something which should be applauded and championed.
Priti Patel’s vehement support of Brexit provides an excellent means of support for Boris Johnson. An unwavering belief that we must leave the European Union by October 31st. The Prime Minister will need leading Ministerial positions within the Cabinet to support his plans and Priti is someone reading from exactly the same hymn sheet. While my own personal views may differ, it is clear that Brexit will take place and having such a key figure from the Brexit campaign may prove to be a winning ingredient in the making of Boris Johnson’s Brexit dream.
Looking to the future and post-Brexit, despite being Home Secretary, Priti Patel may play a big part in trade talks and serve as a potential catalyst for trade agreements. Patel’s strong ties with India could be of particular importance as Britain looks to negotiate economic agreements with foreign nations. India will be a crucial partner to drive the UK out of a predicted post-Brexit ‘rocky road’. Priti, being of Gujarati background, the same background as India’s Prime Minister Modi, can therefore serve as a good lead for trade negotiations. Her already good relationship with Prime Minister Modi is an added bonus. Strong negotiators like Priti will be imperative to trade negotiation success and Priti, having received the ‘Jewels of Gujarat’ award from the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce in 2015, has proven that she has a shining reputation in India and can therefore, play an important role in trade talks between the United Kingdom and India.
It seems clear, that whilst Priti Patel may have some strong views and a controversial past, she may not live up to the disaster prediction her critics have prophesied. With a pair of politically-tinted glasses, it is clear that the appointment of Priti Patel, whilst although controversial, may just prove to be politically genius.
Written by Shamm Chatwani