Swinson: No 10 must answer questions over Patel

I have to say, I’m not unhappy to see the back of Priti Patel from Government. I have never forgiven her for caving to pressure and withdrawing funding from an innovative and successful project which changed attitudes and behaviour, protecting girls from harassment and violence.  She can’t protect women and girls from violence, but she’s happy to talk about using our aid budget to help out an occupying army against government policy.

It’s quite astounding that Patel wasn’t sacked when the initial revelations about her behaviour came out at the weekend.

Jo Swinson said that there still questions for No 10 over the affair. What exactly did they know and when? Should we expect the resignation of an expendable Special Adviser at some point?

Jo said:

Priti Patel has rightly been forced to step down  for her cover up of meetings with foreign officials and the inappropriate requests for aid to be sent to the Israeli military in the Golan Heights.

This was an appalling error of judgement and is nothing short of a major failure by the British government.

Number 10 must answer questions about their complicity in this scandal. Someone has been deceived, either the British people or the Prime Minister’s office. Whichever it is someone must be held to account.

It is right that Patel has gone but Theresa May’s office now needs to reveal honestly what they knew and when.

Shas Sheehan, our International Development Spokesperson, said:

The Secretary of State clearly and comprehensively broke the ministerial code multiple times.

In normal circumstances the Prime Minister would have sacked her days ago.

One thing is clear, whoever replaces her, unlike their predecessor, should have an understanding that development aid is a force for good in the world.

Now, about that other Minister whose blunder has already caused harm to a young mother in an Iranian jail, separated from her family and most especially her baby. When’s he going. Breath is not being held here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • I’m not unhappy to see the back of Priti Patel from Government.
    However, she is currently still an MP…

    If this had happened in a private company, she would have been out the door with immediate effect. It is events like this that demonstrate to the public that different rules apply at Westminster. I think it is clear that from the evidence presented she isn’t fit to hold public office.

  • Ms Patel was a member of the Cabinet who could smirk for England while heading a Department whose raison d’être she was committed to distorting. Let’s hope that for the sake of the country and international relations this can be an opportunity for Mrs May to find someone more appropriate.

  • Patel has gone which means ministers and MPs (including Johnson and Rees-Mogg) can tell us how good she was, apart from a minor error of judgement (Liam Fox, anyone)..

    May will now explain how this proves that she is ‘Strong and stable’…,

    Boris is safe….

  • Matt (Bristol) 9th Nov '17 - 12:46am

    I predict Leadsom is recycled to Int Dev, and Mogg joins the govt at Agriculture. I don’t like the idea, but I can visualise it.

    May’s strategy is to balance leavers and remainers (reminds me of the days of the uneasy Whig-Radical truce under Gladstone).

  • Richard Underhill 9th Nov '17 - 11:50am

    There are calls from MPs of several parties, on the record, for more action on recall.
    Would an informal referendum or opinion poll in Witham be illegal?

  • Matt is right, of course, about the need for balance between leavers and remainders in the cabinet which is proof, were it needed that the Conservatives are effectively two parties at present, an unstable alliance.

  • After todays comments by Iranian State TV the position of the Foreigh Secretary seems completely untenable.
    For the first time since May I am convinced the government needs to go as well and another formed. Perhaps the only way to unite the country in any shape or form is to then hold a second referendum, whatever the result both sides would accept it, (my guess is that there would a decisive majority one way or the other)


  • There is a petition on change.org calling for Johnson to go. Got to 160k since yesterday.

  • Robert (Somerset) 9th Nov '17 - 4:24pm

    I am not sad to see the back of Priti Patel either, someone I have always regarded as a political light weight in what I believe is a very important Department.

    However that shouldn’t be the end of the story should it? There is something very fishy going on here. A government minister accompanied by a government peer and lobbyist having one sided, secret discussions in a VERY sensitive part of the world. Come on!

  • It’s not as bad as the Lib Dem’s Tuition Scandal. The general public will really not give two hoots.

  • Jay,

    I agree that we should have not given in to the Tories on tuition fees, and hope that in the near future we can right the wrong. Mind you it was the Labour Party who introduced Tuition fees (thanks Tony!) and the Tories have been responsible for allowing, or maybe even encouraging the rapid rise in Tuition fees, and, of course, increasing the interest on student loans to 6%!

    On Patel’s Israel adventure, this is clearly the act of someone not suited to the role of minister in a cabinet where collective responsibility is a fundamental, or she was acting under cover, but under instruction by her boss. Either way, this is another example of a government in decay, and which has lost almost all legitimacy. The appointment of Penny Mordant, a hard Brexiteer, famous for the erroneous claim that Turkey would be joining the EU, and that the UK could not block this, further testifies to the trouble this government is in. Best prepare for a general election. Mrs May can’t last much longer and the Tories just picking a replacement for her will not be acceptable to the public!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 9th Nov '17 - 8:07pm

    The comments from Caron on the issue prior , are right, but even in this situation, with what she did , deserving of her resignation, she looks like a stateswoman, all be it a dodgy dealing one , compared to the foreign secretary.

    I find it hard to fathom that the leadership of our party via media contacts or spokespeople , can’t get the population to see whatever the opponents say about our time as a party in the coalition, that period looks like gravitas personified compared to now.

    Sir Vince needs to get more excitable in his criticism of the scenario, beyond Brexit, and Jo and others need to start doing what the folks and those of us who support it are doing in groups like Your Liberal Britain, bring, immediately a narrative with real policies to the fore other than and as well as Brexit.

    The country is tainted.

    Katharine in her article on the Great in our name , has a point, but we as a party need to meet it. Labour are more mistrusted on the economy old or left Labour, that was rectified by new Labour, then we had the crash and now we cannot tell.

    But this party needs to be credible and radical as well as exciting and moderate.

    This is difficult but do any other alternatives spring to mind amidst this national mess.

  • Alex Macfie 9th Nov '17 - 8:28pm

    jay: Get a grip. Of all the ridiculous exaggerations of the error the Lib Dems made in government over tuition fees, this takes the biscuit. What Priti Patel did was the equivalent of ‘gross misconduct’ in an organisation, warranting instant dismissal. Clegg & the rest made a political error of judgement, nothing more. In a standard employment situation it would not be a disciplinary matter, but would affect their performance reviews. Your assertion that breaking a manifesto pledge is worse than a cabinet minister running her own foreign policy behind the government’s back, with all the danger this poses for national and international security, is ludicrous, insulting and offensive.

  • What astounds me is that Priti Patel was ever appointed to the Cabinet in the first place. It says more about May’s weakness than anything else and how in hock May is to the Brexiteers.

    Patel’s background ? Lobbyist for the tobacco industry and PR person for the now defunct Referendum Party (forerunner of UKIP).

    Her policy stances ? Opposed to the overseas aid 0.7% got through by our own Michael Moore.

    Her ambition ? Relentless – probably now enjoying her martyrdom and expecting a bonus from it.

    Her ability ? Very limited : just watch her performance on Question time about the death penalty when she was shown up by Ian Hislop.

    YouTube Video Priti Pateland Ian Hislop death penalty▶ 2:37
    7 Jan 2014 –

  • That hospital she’s visited in Golan treating Syrians wouldn’t happen to be this one would it?


  • Lorenzo Cherin 10th Nov '17 - 1:00pm


    Yes , but what a team, with our present Foreign Secretary, man with a popular touch apparently, shared by Mogg ?

    The personal friendships and qualities we do not see but those who are closer do see , has many promotions the result.

    The odd hanger on is Hunt when Sarah Wolloston doctor, and decent, is on the back benches .

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