Priti Patel returns to the cabinet in top job as the new Home Secretary

Priti Patel arrives at Number 10 to be made new Home Secretary. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Priti Patel arrives at Number 10 to be made new Home Secretary. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Witham MP Priti Patel is the new Home Secretary – 20 months after she was sacked from the cabinet by Theresa May.

Matt Hancock is one of the few ministers to have kept their roles in Boris Johnson's first cabinet:

Matt Hancock is one of the few ministers to have kept their roles in Boris Johnson's first cabinet: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

She had backed Boris Johnson's campaign to become the new Conservative Party leader from the start - and has been a critic of the EU for many years.

During the referendum campaign she was a member of the Vote Leave team - and voted against Theresa May's withdrawal deal along with other Conservative rebels.

She was born in London after her parents left Uganda. They lived in Hertfordshire and owned a chain of newsagents across the south east of England, including in Ipswich.

Ms Patel, 47, did a postgraduate degree in politics at the University of Essex at Colchester and worked for the Conservative Party and then in public relations and corporate affairs before being selected to fight the Witham seat in 2010.


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Since she left the government in November 2017, Ms Patel has become chair of the Great Eastern Taskforce pressing for major improvements to the main rail line from London to Norwich through Ipswich, Colchester and her own constituency.

She is also a strong campaigner for improvements to the A12 and A120 roads in Essex to improve links to London and Stansted Airport.

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Her new role is likely to mean that she will have to give up chairing these campaigns - although she is likely to maintain her interest in them as a constituency MP.

Commenting after her visit to Downing Street, Ms Patel said: "It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be asked to serve in the new administration formed by Boris Johnson as a member of his Cabinet. Boris brings an enormous amount of energy to the role and his message of optimism and hope means our country now has a fresh start.

"There is a strong team in Government who believe in Britain and are working with Boris to deliver Brexit and unify our country.

"Work is also taking place on developing and implementing an exciting domestic policy programme to give our country a more prosperous future."

"While being a member of the Cabinet is a great honour, I will continue to be a strong voice for everyone in the Witham constituency, supporting local communities and helping my constituents with the individual challenges and problems they face.

"I will also continue to campaign for the infrastructure improvements the East of England needs to support economic growth, job creation and new opportunities for families and businesses."

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, who supported Mr Johnson after abandoning his own leadership bid, is to stay as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

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