Plain-speaking Priti backs the death penalty
PRITI Patel will attend Cabinet as jobs minister, a move which will delight the Right of the party.
The 43-year-old will be only the second Asian woman to sit at the top table, after former Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi.
An MP for five years, Miss Patel was made Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury last year, overseeing tax policy, and was a regular in TV studios during the election campaign.
A Eurosceptic, she is a believer in low taxes and is outspoken about the need for welfare cuts. She has also hit the headlines for saying she supported the death penalty for the most serious crimes.
Married Miss Patel is the daughter of Ugandan Asians who fled to Britain in the 1 70s when dictator Idi Amin persecuted the Indian community and ordered them out within 0 days.
‘My parents were kicked out of Uganda,’ she said in an interview. ‘They came to the UK with nothing, worked hard and set up a successful shop business.
‘There was a desire to work hard and to be successful so you didn’t have to rely on anybody else. Coming from a country where you’re persecuted means that you want to work hard and to contribute to the society where you end up.
‘You become patriotic because you make your new country your home, and, as a result, you live and play by its values’. Educated at a grammar school in Watford and Keele University, Miss Patel joined the party under John Major.
The new Employment Minister is deputy to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, with responsibilities including jobseekers’ allowance and youth unemployment.
Although Miss Patel is not a secretary of state, David Cameron confirmed she will attend Cabinet, as did her predecessor Esther McVey.
The role is likely to involve overseeing controversial cuts to welfare benefits, in efforts to slash £12billion in this area while protecting pen- sions. Miss Patel, who has a six-yearold son, wrote in a blog last year that under Labour the welfare system ‘bound people to dependency’. She expressed concern that ‘claimants who have never worked … enjoy a lifestyle that many other households could not afford.’
The Witham MP has been a leading critic of soft sentencing and votes for prisoners, and said in 2011 that the death penalty should be reintroduced for the most serious crimes.
She defected from the Tories in 1 5 to James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party, but returned to the Conservatives two years later.
Ready for work: Priti Patel arriving at Number Ten yesterday