Priti Patel: who is former Home Secretary - why did she resign and what did she say about her record?

In her letter of resignation to Boris Johnson, Priti Patel defended her policymaking during her term as Home Secretary

Priti Patel has resigned as Home Secretary.

The MP for Witham announced that she was stepping back from her cabinet role following Liz Truss’s win in the Tory leadership election.

Mr Patel will not serve on the newly-elected Prime Minister’s cabinet and will instead return to the backbenches under her leadership.

The politician implemented some controversial policies during her time in the role, and also oversaw criticisms levelled at the government’s handling of crime rates.

Here’s everything we know about Ms Patel’s resignation and and what she said about her record in parliament.

Priti Patel has resigned as Home Secretary and will not serve in Liz Truss’s government. (Credit: Getty Images)

Who is Priti Patel?

Priti Patel has been the Conservative MP for Witham since 2010.

She was appointed Home Secretary by Boris Johnson, following the Tory’s resounding win at the 2019 General Election.

Prior to this, she served as International Development Secretary from 2016 to 2017.

Ms Patel is described to be on the ring-wing of the Conservative Party, and has described herself as a ‘Thatcherite’ - a believer in the principles and policies of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Ms Patel campaign for the Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit vote.

During her time in Mr Johnson’s cabinet, she grew to become a close ally of the Prime Minister, and was one of the few cabinet ministers to not resign from their role in order to force his hand to quit as leader.

Ms Patel announced her resignation from her cabinet role on 5 September 2022, after it was announced and confirmed that Liz Truss was to become Mr Johnson’s successor.

Why did Priti Patel resign as Home Secretary?

As previously mentioned, Ms Patel was a close ally of Mr Johnson therefore her resignation may come as Mr Truss preapres to assemble her own cabinet of close allies.

However, Ms Patel congratulated the new Prime Minister, saying: “I congratulate Liz Truss on being elected our new Leader, and will give her my support as our new Prime Minister.

“It is my choice to continue my public service to the country and the Witham constituency from the backbenches, once Liz formally assumes office and a new Home Secretary is appointed.”

Ms Truss will formally assume office on 6 September when she is sworn in by The Queen.

What did Priti Patel say about her record as Home Secretary?

Ms Patel’s tenure as Home Secretary has been fraught with controversy, with many policies such as the Rwanda immigration plan receiving criticism.

Prior to the announcement of her resgination, Ms Patel addressed the House of Commons, where she recalled the policies which she and Mr Johnson had introduced over the past three years.

She said: “Before I answer today’s questions and start questions, if I may, I’d briefly like to remark on the last three years of Boris Johnson’s prime ministership under which I’ve served as Home Secretary.

“This morning, a written ministerial statement was tabled in my name outlining the work of the Home Office, this department over the last three years on our manifesto commitment and with that, of course, some of the biggest reforms on security, migration and public safety which the Speaker’s (Sir Lindsay Hoyle) just spoken about.”

The controvesial Rwanda immigration policy, in which asylum seekers will be sent to the African country while awaiting decision on their status, has been branded as “shamefully curel” by charities and experts.

However, she backed the policy in her statement, saying: “This partnership is very clear in terms of standards, the treatment of people that are relocated to Rwanda, the resources that are put in and also the processing of how every applicant is treated.”

In her resignation letter, she also urged Liz Truss to keep the policy in place, sayng: “This package of measures will lead to lasting reforms to the UK’s asylum and removal system. It is vital that your successor backs all aspects of these policies on illegal migration to ensure the full implementation and delivery of the New Plan for Immigration and Nationality and Borders Act.

Ms Patel has also come under fire for her handling of crime during her time as Home Secretary, with the Metropolitan Police handling of the Sarah Everard case and the IPCC report detailing the misogyny, homophobia and racism of officers at Charing Cross Police station.

Additionally, many high-profile serious crimes have taken place in recent months. Most recently the shooting of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool shocked the nation, while 87-year-old pensioner Thomas O’Halloran was stabbed on the street in London.

Ms Patel defended crime rates, saying in her resignation letter: “We have re-affirmed the Conservative Party’s status as the party of law and order by backing our police with a record £17 billion of investment and funding 20,000 more police officers.

“We have also introduced tougher punishments for offenders, more help for victims of crime, and reforms in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the Public Order Bill.”