|The Right Honourable
|Secretary of State for International Development|
14 July 2016
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Justine Greening|
|Minister of State for Employment|
11 May 2015 – 14 July 2016
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Esther McVey|
|Succeeded by||Damian Hinds|
|Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury|
15 July 2014 – 11 May 2015
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||David Gauke|
|Succeeded by||Damian Hinds|
|Member of Parliament
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
29 March 1972 |
London, England, UK
|Political party||Conservative (Before 1995; 1997–present)
|Alma mater||Keele University
University of Essex
Priti Sushil Patel (born 29 March 1972) is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Witham constituency in Essex since 2010. Appointed Minister of State for Employment attending Cabinet on 11 May 2015, and previously a member of the Public Administration Select Committee, she is regarded as being ideologically on her party's right-wing and a prominent eurosceptic. In July 2016, Patel was appointed Secretary of State for International Development in Theresa May's cabinet.
Patel was born in London to a Ugandan Indian migrant family. Educated at Keele University and the University of Essex, she was initially involved with the Referendum Party before switching allegiance to the Conservatives. She contested Nottingham North unsuccessfully at the 2005 general election before, under David Cameron's leadership, being recommended for the Party's "A-List" of prospective candidates; she was elected Conservative MP for the seat of Witham at the 2010 general election.
A sometimes outspoken figure, Patel has been criticised by political opponents for defending the tobacco and alcohol industries; and for suggesting that British workers are lazy in an economic treatise.
Patel was born on 29 March 1972, and was brought up in South Harrow and Ruislip. Her parents were Ugandan immigrants of Gujarati origin who came to Hertfordshire, England, in the 1960s, departing Uganda shortly before President Idi Amin announced the expulsion of Ugandan Asians; they established a chain of newsagents in London and the South East of England.
Patel attended Watford Grammar School for Girls in Watford, before studying Economics, Sociology and Social Anthropology at Keele University, completing her postgraduate studies at the University of Essex. She first joined the Conservative Party as a teenager, when John Major was Prime Minister.
After graduating, Patel was recruited by Andrew Lansley (then Head of the Conservative Research Department) at Conservative Central Office having, from 1995 to 1997, headed the press office of the Referendum Party which polled over 800,000 votes at the 1997 general election.
After 1997, the Conservative Party's policy over the Euro changed, and Patel then left the Referendum Party and rejoined the Conservative Party having been offered a post to work for the new leader William Hague in his press office, dealing with media relations in London and the South East of England.
Following a Financial Times article in August 2003, wherein she was reported as saying racist attitudes had persisted in the Conservative Party ("Racist attitudes do persist within the Party.... there's a lot of bigotry around"), she wrote to the FT countering its article which had misinterpreted her comments as implying she had been blocked as a party candidate because of her ethnicity.
She then left Conservative HQ to work for Weber Shandwick, a public relations consultancy, advising major companies. At the 2005 general election, she stood as the Conservative candidate for Nottingham North, losing heavily to its long-standing Labour MP Graham Allen by 5,671 votes (18.7%) to 17,842 votes (58.7%).
During her work at Weber Shandwick, she lobbied on behalf of British American Tobacco (BAT) for several years, with a memo from that 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. BAT documents released in 2015 after a legal action indicate that she worked closely on a project to limit the damage to the company's reputation that its Burmese investments had caused; BAT paid its Burmese factory workers £15 a month, and Patel was paid £165 an hour to counter the negative publicity that the company's wage agreements generated. One BAT senior executive complained that Weber Shandwick felt uncomfortable about doing such work for Big Tobacco, but noted that "Priti [and another employee] seem quite relaxed working with us".
In November 2000, Patel was part of a strategy group looking at how BAT could influence the outcome of the World Health Organisation's negotiations on developing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Patel then moved to Diageo, the British multinational alcoholic beverages company, and worked in corporate relations between 2003 and 2007, shaping "a global strategy on responsible drinking" according to PRWeek. On her re-appointment to Weber Shandwick in 2007 Patel was reported as having been in the Corporate Relations team at Diageo Plc, where she "worked on international public policy issues related to the wider impact of alcohol in society."
Member of Parliament
After unsuccessfully contesting Nottingham North at the 2005 general election, Patel was identified as a promising candidate by new party leader David Cameron, and was offered a place on the "A-List" of Conservative prospective parliamentary candidates (PPC). In November 2006, she was adopted as the PPC for the notionally safe Conservative seat of Witham—a new constituency in central Essex created after a boundary review—before winning it with a sizeable majority at the 2010 general election. She was drafted into the Number 10 Policy Unit in October 2013, and was promoted as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury the following summer. After the 2015 general election, Patel rose to Cabinet-level as Minister of State for Employment in the Department for Work and Pensions, and was sworn of the Privy Council on 14 May 2015.
Department for International Development
In July 2016 new Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Patel International Development Secretary. Patel keenly accepted the post despite having actively campaigned for the Department for International Development to be scrapped. 
Patel is considered to be on the right-wing of the Conservative Party—described as a "modern-day Norman Tebbit"—and served on the 1922 Committee before appointment as a Minister. She has taken robust stances on crime, garnering headlines after she argued for the restoration of capital punishment on the BBC's Question Time in September 2011. She also opposes 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." She has also opposed allowing Jeremy Bamber, who was convicted of murder in her constituency, access to media to protest his innocence. Patel had a mixed voting record, guided by her constituents' views, on allowing same-sex marriage but ultimately voted against the 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, and is an officer of Conservative Friends of Israel.
Patel has been criticised by some for raising issues in the House of Commons related to her time working for the tobacco and alcohol industries. As a parliamentarian, Patel has retained libertarian principles being consistently supportive of tobacco industry viewpoints: in October 2010, she voted for the smoking ban to be overturned; in December 2010, she signed a letter requesting that plain packaging for cigarettes be reconsidered. Patel has also campaigned with the drinks industry, holding a reception in parliament for the Call Time On Duty Campaign in favour of ending the alcohol duty escalator supported the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, the Scotch Whisky Association and the Tax Payers' Alliance.
Patel also courted controversy with a book she co-authored, Britannia Unchained (2012): this work sets out lessons from business and economic practices of other countries, including commenting that: "once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world". When contacted by journalists about her contributions to the book, Patel refused to discuss the subject.
Patel is interested in her ancestral homeland of India: she lodged a complaint with the BBC alleging one-sided coverage critical of Narendra Modi on the eve of his victory in 2014 Indian elections. In January 2015, Patel was announced by Maneesh Media Group chairman, Chandmal Kumawat, as being among the celebrated Jewels of Gujarat: Leading Global Gujarati Personalities.
In July 2004, Patel married Alex Sawyer. They have a son, Freddie, born in August 2008.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Priti Patel.|
- Priti Patel MP official constituency website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- NRI Priti Patel has been nominated as an official MP candidate by Tory Party, NRIpress, 29 December 2004
- Maneesh Media Honours Priti Patel
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency||Member of Parliament
|Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
|Minister of State for Employment
|Secretary of State for International Development