United Kingdom leader fills Cabinet post after 2nd resignation in a week

Ivan Schwartz
November 11, 2017

Making changes in the government lineup is a fraught business for May.

Mordaunt, a 44-year-old Royal Navy reservist, is the MP for the English naval town of Portsmouth, and served as a junior defence minister before becoming minister for disabled people in 2016.

Mordaunt, a Brexiteer who supported the "leave" campaign in the EU Referendum, has succeeded Ms Patel who resigned this week after a controversy over unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials.

Osamor added: "Unlike Priti Patel, who too often used the department to prop up her personal networks and leadership ambitions, Mordaunt must also quickly commit to the central cause of the department: to help the world's poorest".

"It is right that you have chose to resign and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated", May said afterward in a letter accepting Patel's resignation. No government officials were present at the 12 meetings, which was also in breach of ministerial guidelines.

The reply ended a day of intense political drama as news channels tracked Patels flight back from Africa, where she had left for an official visit after her initial apology over undisclosed meetings while on holiday in Israel in August.

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This experience meant she had been touted to replace Sir Michael Fallon as defence secretary following his sudden resignation in the wake of alleged inappropriate behaviour. "The existence of such a meeting would call into question the official account of Patel's behaviour and the objective of the visit". She has been a strong cheerleader of the Modi government, publicly praising a number of its policies including demonetisation.

She worked as a magician's assistant to finance her studies at sixth form college. In March this year, she was awarded the Pravasi Bharitiya Samman award.

Prominent Brexit supporter and Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg had earlier called for a replacement for Patel who was enthusiastic about leaving the European Union. She straddles the Leave-Remain divide as one of the most reluctant Remainers before the referendum who has since sought to deliver an uncompromising version of Brexit.

She appeared in Splash in 2014 and defended her featuring on the showWhen did she appear on Splash? A former aid worker in Romania before entering Parliament, and a former director of a diabetes charity that did work in India, Mordaunt on her parliamentary website lists her countries of interest as including India and the US.

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