A lot of people won’t ‘stand with Priti’, and here’s why

Home secretary Priti Patel
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

In the wake of the latest scandal around home secretary Priti Patel, #StandWithPatel began trending on Twitter. Patel is facing allegations of bullying, led primarily by civil servant Philip Rutnam.

But the hashtag intended to show support for Patel seems to have had the opposite effect:

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Fall from grace

It seems a lot of people are keen to share the reasons for why they won’t ‘stand with Patel’. Aside from the allegations of bullying, Patel was forced to resign in 2017 for having “unofficial meetings” with Israeli officials. The meetings took place during her time as international development secretary. After the initial fall from grace, the fact that Patel returned as home secretary in Boris Johnson’s cabinet should, in itself, be cause for concern:

Hostile environment

Moreover, people haven’t forgotten Patel’s role in furthering the Tories’ hostile environment policy. At the Conservative party conference in 2019, she proudly declared that she wanted to end free movement “once and for all”. And given her role in the latest deportations it’s surprising that anyone would want to support her:

‘Criminalising thought’

Patel’s recent announcement of a new terrorism offence is yet another reason for anyone to be wary of her politics. In January of this year, Patel proposed to make the possession of extremist or terrorist material a criminal offence. As The Canary’s Emily Apple pointed out:

Just in itself, this is a frightening prospect that criminalises thought – especially given that while terrorism is defined in law, extremism doesn’t have a legal definition. But in the context of a policing strategy that equates protest with terrorism, it is utterly terrifying.

Patel’s position on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and a pledge to effectively criminalise them, is equally abhorrent.

Any claims about Priti Patel’s conduct within the Home Office must be investigated. But all in all, there are already plenty of reasons to not #StandWithPriti.

Featured image via YouTube/Guardian News

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