Priti Patel

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Priti Patel
Priti Patel MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Witham
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 15,196 (32.4%)
Personal details
Born (1972-03-29) 29 March 1972 (age 42)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Keele University

Priti Patel MP (born 29 March 1972)[1] is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. First elected in the 2010 general election, she is the Member of Parliament for the Witham (/wɪtəm/) constituency in Essex, and an officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel group.[2]

Early life[edit]

Patel was born in London,[3] England and grew up in South Harrow and Ruislip. Her parents were Ugandan immigrants of Gujarati origin from Navsari, India ancestry who came to the UK after the expulsion of Indians from Uganda in the early 1970s.[4][5] They ran a post office in rural Norfolk and then a successful small shop in south east England. Patel attended a comprehensive school in Watford, before studying economics at Keele University and then going on to the University of Essex. She joined the Conservative Party during the time John Major was Prime Minister.

Political career[edit]

After graduating, Patel was given a job by Andrew Lansley (now a frontbencher, then a Head of the Conservative Research Department) at Conservative Central Office. From 1995 to 1997, she headed the press office for the Referendum Party which polled over 800,000 votes in 1997.[6]

After the 1997 General Election, the Conservative Party changing from having criteria before entering the Euro to asserting they now would only join the currency if there was a referendum on the issue. Patel rejoined the Conservative Party to work for the new leader William Hague in his press office dealing with media relations in London and the South East.

Following an article in the Financial Times in August 2003,[7][8] where she stated that racist attitudes persisted in the Conservative Party ("Racist attitudes do persist within the party.... There's a lot of bigotry around."), she wrote to the FT.[9] to complain that the article misinterpreted her comments in implying that she had been blocked as a candidate for the party because of her ethnicity.

She left politics and worked for Weber Shandwick, a public relations consultancy, advising major companies.[10] In the 2005 General Election, she stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Nottingham North, losing to its long-standing Labour MP Graham Allen.[n 1][11]

During her work at Weber Shandwick she lobbied on behalf of British American Tobacco for several years, with a memo from their company showing that she was employed to "provide strategic advice on the account, with a particular focus on the Conservative party", billing the company for over £20,000 per month. This led to criticism of her later stance as an MP against policies like plain packaging for cigarettes, due to claims of an undeclared conflict of interest.[12]

Patel has sometimes taken tough stances on crime, such as advocating capital punishment on the BBC's Question Time in September 2011[13][14] and opposing prisoner voting. Kelvin MacKenzie has suggested she would make a good Home Secretary, as "The country would know bad guys would be going away for a hell of a long time".[15] She has also opposed allowing Jeremy Bamber, whose murders occurred in her constituency, access to media to protest his innocence.[16]

Priti had officially lodged a complain to the BBC for it's alleged one-sided coverage critical of Narendra Modi on the eve of his victory in Indian elections, 2014 on 16 May.[17][18]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Priti Patel was placed on the "A-List" of Conservative Party candidates before the 2010 general election.[19] On 20 November 2006, she was adopted as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the notionally safe Conservative seat of Witham, a new constituency created in a boundary review.[20][dead link][21] Priti Patel was elected in the 2010 general election, with a majority of 15,196 votes.

In August 2012, Patel, co-authored a book, Britannia Unchained. In it, the authors claim that "Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world".[22] When contacted by journalists about her contributions to the book, Patel refused to discuss them.[23]

Personal life[edit]

In July 2004, she married Alex Sawyer. They have a son, Freddie, born in August 2008.[24]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ First elected in 1987 by a 1,665 majority and who had a 12,240 majority in the 2001 election. BBC News
  1. ^ "Democracy Live | Your representatives | Priti Patel". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  2. ^ "About Conservative Friends of Israel". Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  3. ^ About Priti, Priti4Witham
  4. ^ Amanda Platell (8 April 2010). "Have Cameron's Cuties really got what it takes to transform politics? | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  5. ^ Palash R. Ghosh (18 October 2011). "Priti Patel: The Rise of a British-Asian Conservative". 
  6. ^ The Referendum Party was headed by Sir James Goldsmith and had in spring 1997 one MP: George Gardiner
  7. ^ "Would-be Tory MP says party has racist elements", Financial Times
  8. ^ cited by Robin Brant "A year on, has the A-list worked?" BBC News, 4 December 2006
  9. ^ "Overwhelmed by the support of party members", Financial Times
  10. ^ David Singleton (2010-05-11). "''PR Week'' 11 May 2010 "Many lobbyists win seats but some see majority decreased" by David Singleton". Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  11. ^ Ask Aristotle - Nottingham North: the 2005 General Election The Guardian
  12. ^
  13. ^ Rachel Helyer-Donaldson "Furore as Priti Patel urges return of death penalty", The Week, 23 September 2011
  14. ^
  15. ^ Gockelen-Kozlowski, Tom (5 October 2012). "Priti Patel takes Witham by storm". Total Politics. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  16. ^ "Why was killer Bamber given access to media?". Maldon Standard. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  17. ^ "Indian-origin MP takes BBC's ‘Modi coverage’ complaint to UK ministry". THE TIMES OF INDIA. 22 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "British PM Cameron's aide takes on BBC over critical comments against Modi". HINDUSTAN TIMES. 20 June 2014. 
  19. ^ Brant, Robin (4 December 2006). "A year on, has the A-list worked?". BBC News. 
  20. ^ "Priti Patel takes Witham by storm". East Anglian Daily Times. 
  21. ^ Dines, Graham (21 November 2006). "Priti Patel takes Witham by storm". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Tackle 'lazy' Britain, fellow Tories tell David Cameron". Evening Standard. 17 August 2012. 
  23. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (17 August 2012). "Tory young bloods say Britons are idlers who need to emulate Asia". The Guardian. 
  24. ^ "Newborn Freddie is the Tory party's youngest member | This is Essex". 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2011-09-22. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Witham