Andy Richardson: Patel’s record is as reliable as the Government’s on test and trace

You can rely on Priti Patel to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel

While the Home Office is one of the toughest jobs in Government, her ability to handle the pressure and complexity are frequently found wanting. It will surprise few that she’s been branded a bully following a lengthy enquiry into her behaviour, which breached the ministerial code.

Such behaviour, however, was ‘unintentional’, or so we are led to believe. As excuses, or reasons, go, it’s 2/10. How did someone who doesn't understand bullying get the job of Home Secretary?

Patel, of course, left an earlier ministerial post having met with the Israeli Prime Minister and others while serving as an official who was specifically directed not to do so. Even more remarkable was that the then-Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, knew all about it. Patel is fortunate, perhaps, that the current PM – the same guy – has neither the backbone nor the sense of moral probity of his predecessor, Theresa May, whose intervention led to Patel’s earlier resignation. Patel’s record is as reliable as the Government’s on test and trace.

Boris, however, has shown time and again that ministers and aides can pretty much get away with whatever they like: breaking lockdown, providing lucrative contracts to mates, casual bullying – so long as they don’t call his partner Princess Nut Nuts.

Talking of Carrie Symmons, Nigel Farage is dismayed that the country voted for Boris Johnson and ended up with Caroline Lucas. While Farage is the most influential British politician since Tony Blair, the architect of Brexit is wrong. It voted for Johnson and ended up with Symmons, who pulls the strings now that Super Dom has been sacked. Lucas, unlike Farage, wins elections to Parliament – Farage has lost seven, she’s won four – and would repurpose the economy were she near the corridors of power, rather than asking a pro-fracker to lead the world’s most important environmental conference, as Boris has done.

As the Brexit negotiations finally reach their conclusion – remember them? – Britain has to choose between the hardest possible Brexit or no Brexit at all. It’s not what the voters took to the ballot box for. Sticking points remain on fishing, labour and environmental standards – quick, call Carrie – and how commitments are enforced. Given that we’ve already decided to break the law on Northern Ireland, the last part doesn’t matter.

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