- Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt is made the new International Development Secretary. The Conservative MP for Portsmouth North replaces Priti Patel who resigned on Wednesday. Theresa May is forced into her second Cabinet re-shuffle in just over a week.
LONDON -Penny Mordaunt has been appointed by Theresa May as the new International Development Secretary.
Mordaunt was promoted on Thursday afternoon after a meeting between the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North and Prime Minister Theresa May, Downing Street has confirmed.
She was first elected in 2010 and has served as minister for disabled people since July 2016. She was also the first woman to serve as a minister for the armed forces.
Her appointment means Prime Minister May has managed to maintain the current balance between both men and women and Remainers and Brexiteers within the Cabinet. Mordaunt, like her predecessor Priti Patel, campaigned for Britain to leave the EU.
She was also celebrity contestant on ITV reality TV show “Splash” in 2014.
There have been promotions for two more Tory MPs. Sarah Newton has been appointed to the Department for Work and Pensions while Victoria Atkins has been made Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office.
May forced into another re-shuffle
Mordaunt will replace Patel who resigned on Wednesday evening after it emerged that she had taken part in unauthorised meetings with members of the Israeli government.
Patel held two undisclosed meetings with senior figures in the Israeli government following a visit to Israel in August in which she held 12 unauthorised meetings, including with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Downing Street was not told about these meetings until Friday last week, a spokesperson told Business Insider on Monday.
Patel flew back to London from Africa yesterday and met with Prime Minister May before officially announcing her resignation from Cabinet.
More details about Patel’s trips to the Middle East have come to light in recent days.
It emerged on Tuesday that Patel had sought to authorise the payment of foreign aid to the Israeli Army, following the meetings. The foreign office said the request had been declined as it was “not appropriate.”
Israeli newspaper Haraaetz reported that Patel visited a hospital in the Golan Heights while in the Middle East. Diplomatic protocol prohibits British ministers from visiting the Golan Heights, a south-western region of Syria which Israel seized during the six-day war of 1967.