The New European - - Agenda -

Priti Pa­tel has a me­mory prob­lem. This time last year, as in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment sec­re­tary, she was strug­gling to re­call that the fun ex­cur­sions she’d booked on her pack­age hol­i­day to Is­rael ended up in­volv­ing 14 se­cret meet­ings with politi­cians and lob­by­ists.

And now she’s the only per­son in Bri­tain who can’t re­mem­ber that the 2017 Con­ser­va­tive man­i­festo was a bit of a dog’s din­ner.

That is the only con­ceiv­able ex­pla­na­tion for Pa­tel’s re­cent ar­ti­cle in The Sun de­mand­ing that Theresa May should de­liver on it by giv­ing us the hard­est of hard Brex­its. Pa­tel men­tions the man­i­festo 10 times, as if it were some kind of sa­cred text. There’s talk that May must “hon­our the man­i­festo”, meet “our man­i­festo com­mit­ments” and “keep our man­i­festo prom­ise”.

Just as a re­minder, the 2017 Tory man­i­festo con­tained win­ners like the de­men­tia tax, the re­turn of gram­mar schools, the scrap­ping of univer­sal free school meals, means test­ing for win­ter fuel al­lowances and end­ing the triple-lock on pen­sions, all of them since qui­etly ditched.

It also con­tained a pledge to de­liver the cliff-edge Brexit which Pa­tel pro­poses. And how did the elec­torate re­act? Less than 30% of them voted Tory, los­ing May 13 seats and her over­all ma­jor­ity while cre­at­ing the last 16 months of an­ar­chy in the UK – one of many en­tries from the Sex Pis­tols song­book which come to mind when Pa­tel is men­tioned.

Alas, there will be no more Hol­i­days In The Sun on which she can run into Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu. But she’s still a Silly Thing, with Prob­lems who, of course, is Priti Va­cant.

Photo: Getty Im­ages


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