Home Secretary Priti Patel Under Fire After She Ducks Out Of Grilling By MPs

Dame Diana Johnson: “We have been given to understand that... we still have a functioning government in place."
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Priti Patel is under fire today after she ducked out a committee hearing in which she was due to be grilled about Home Office activities.

MPs on the home affairs select committee were set to quiz her on policing, violence against women, Rwanda and problems at the passport office.

But the home secretary sent a letter by email yesterday, saying: “The committee will be aware of the recent changes in government, and in particular to the ministerial team in my department.

“Regrettably, as a result of this and the wider unprecedented changes since I agreed to give evidence, I will no longer be able to meet with the committee tomorrow.”

The cabinet minister apologised for cancelling and suggested they postpone until a “mutually agreed date in September”.

Committee chair Dame Diana Johnson wrote back to the home secretary, saying: “It is extremely disappointing to hear – at twenty minutes to five the day before your scheduled appearance before the home affairs select committee on the morning of 13 July 2022 – that you will no longer be giving evidence.

“We have been given to understand that, despite the prime minister’s resignation last week, we still have a functioning government in place, as signalled by the appointment of a number of ministers over the last few days, including in your own department.”

Johnson said it was “essential” that the committee is able to scrutinise the government and added: “You are still the home secretary and in a statement you released last week, you implied that you did not resign from government because you felt ‘the position of home secretary demands the holder of office to be entirely focused on the business of government and our national security’.”

The Home Office declined to say why she dropped out, but a spokesperson said: “The home secretary will appear at a later date, to be agreed with the committee.”

It comes the day after Patel decided not to join the Conservative Party leadership race.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the senior cabinet minister said she was “grateful” for the encouragement she had been given to stand.

But Patel said she would “not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs”.

Patel, a leading Brexiteer who would have hoped to secure support from the right of the party, has not yet said who she will back.


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