The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently appointed Indian origin Ms. Priti Patel, 47, as the country Home Secretary. Ms. Patel replaces Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid, who moves to the treasury department as the first ethnic minority Chancellor of the Exchequer. Importantly, Ms. Patel resigned as international development minister in November 2017 over undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials that breached diplomatic protocol.
Speaking on the appointment Ms. Patel said, "I will do everything in my power to keep our country safe, our people secure, and also to fight the scourge of crime that we see on our streets. I look forward to the challenges that now lie ahead".
Ms. Patel, an ardent Brexiteer was among the most vocal critics of Theresa May's Brexit strategy. After her appointment, she said it is important that the Cabinet should represent modern Britain as well as a modern Conservative Party. She campaigned to leave the European Union (EU) in 2016, and since leaving the government has been an outspoken critic of former UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to Brexit. She has been a prominent member of the "Back Boris" campaign for the Conservative Party leadership and was widely tipped for the plum post in the prime minister's frontline team.
In the Indian context, she is also known to be an avid supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and had praised him for demonetisation, calling it a "right step to tackle the root causes of corruption". Interestingly, the former British leader David Cameron has touted Patel as Britain’s first Indian-heritage Prime Minister during a huge rally at Wembley stadium in 2015 to mark the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A sometimes outspoken figure, Patel has been criticised by political opponents for defending the tobacco and alcohol industries, voted against introducing same-sex marriage and for calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty. No wonder, she is considered to be on the right-wing of the Conservative Party.
Ms. Patel is English-born to Ugandan-Indian family. In the EU referendum campaign she launched an appeal to “Save the British Curry” which argued that a post-Brexit immigration system would be fairer to those from outside the EU and ease a shortage of chefs for Indian restaurants in Britain. She was first elected as a Conservative MP in 2010 and gained prominence in the then David Cameron led Tory government as his Indian Diaspora Champion.