Mordaunt maintains May’s delicate Brexit balance in Cabinet
0 Penny Mordaunt leaves 10 Downing Street after her appointment yesterday Theresa May has maintained the delicate Cabinet balance between Leavers and Remainers as she replaced Priti Patel with another hardline Brexiteer.
Penny Mordaunt, the minister for the disabled, was promoted to become the new International Development Secretary following Ms Patel’s dramatic resignation on Wednesday evening.
In her second emergency mini-reshuffle in the space of a week, the Prime Minister took the opportunity to promote two other women MPS.
Victoria Atkins became the first of the 2015 intake of new Conservative MPS to enter the government, becoming a junior Home Office minister.
She replaced Sarah Newton who moves to take over Ms Mordaunt’s responsibilities at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Downing Street will hope the appointments restore some stability after the turmoil of recent weeks which saw Sir Michael Fallon forced to resign over allegations of improper conduct.
In particular the choice of Ms Mordaunt as Internationaldevelopmentsecretarywill be seen a signal to reassure hardline Brexiteers that there will be no back-pedalling.
Like Ms Patel - who was forced to quit over her unauthorised contacts with senior Israelis - she was a high-profile campaigner for Leave in last year’s referendum.
She underlined her probrexit credentials by backing Andrea Leadsom in the subsequent Conservative leadership contest.
Following the announcement, Ms Patel tweeted her support for her successor, congratulating her “dear friend” on her appointment.
There was anger among Remain campaigners who criticised controversial comments she made during the referendum suggesting the UK could not veto Turkey joining the EU.
And Opposition parties questioned Ms Mordaunt’s commitment to the international aid agenda and urged her to distance herself from the legacy of her predecessor who was highly critical of some aid programmes.
She is perhaps best known to the public for donning a swimsuit in the TV show Splash! in 2014, when she joined celebrities to be trained in diving by Olympian Tom Daley.
She was once accused of trivialising Parliament after admitting she had smuggled repeated mentions of the word “cock” into a House of Commons speech for a bet with fellow naval reservists.