Priti Patel isn’t just quiet. She’s missing.

Priti Patel
Support us and go ad-free

As much as many of us would like to see Priti Patel nowhere near frontline politics, people are growing increasingly puzzled as to why she currently seems to be, er, nowhere near frontline politics.


Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

As home secretary, Patel bears ultimate responsibility within the government for topics such as law and order and border control. Both of these areas have been big talking points during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Yet Patel hasn’t appeared at any of the government’s daily briefings so far.

“We can’t hide away from it forever”

One of the government departments under Patel’s supervision is the passport office. There are reports that staff there have been told to stop staying at home and get back to work. Computer systems and security issues make it difficult for passport office staff to work from home. A scientific adviser from the Home Office reportedly told staff that 80% of people would contract Covid-19 and “we can’t hide away from it forever”.

Yet Patel seems to be doing her best to hide. She’s turned down repeated requests to appear before the home affairs select committee. For example, the committee chair – Labour’s Yvette Cooper – wrote to Patel on 3 April. She wanted to know why there were no regulations regarding people arriving in the UK from coronavirus hotspots like New York or Hubei Province in China. Patel has offered private briefings but has so far refused to give evidence publicly. She finally indicated that she’ll consider doing so “towards the end of the month”. But she used her response to bemoan the “increasingly adversarial tone” of communications from the committee. She suggested that discussion of “operationally sensitive, and sometimes classified” material was behind her reluctance to appear in public.

Dodging scrutiny

Scram News has offered some possible reasons why it thinks Patel might be keeping her head down. It reckons she’s trying to avoid any discussion of the report into bullying claims against her. It also feels she’ll face criticism of her previous comments about ‘low-skilled’ workers, given that many such people are now demonstrably keeping the country going. Furthermore, Scram News thinks Patel may be having to backtrack on her views about the government’s responsibility for poverty. Or it could just be that she knows she’s rubbish at her job and is worried that everyone else will realise that if she attempts to do it in public.

We don’t have to like our politicians to want to see them do a good job. Most of the current cabinet inspire very little confidence. But some of them at least look like they’re trying. Patel just looks like she’s not remotely interested.

Featured image by John Ranson for The Canary

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. British ‘government’ is demonstrably no longer fit for purpose. Governance from the Home Secretary is literally invisible – during a pandemic. I think we’re seeing final evidence that not only whatever change is needed, but what actually needs to be done, right now, in response to a crisis, is not going to come from politicians. We’re going to have to do it ourselves. The political class is demonstrably unfit for purpose. Time to look beyond them. Time to mobilise in our own interests. This is a shower. They can’t even turn up for work.

    2. I am somewhat concerned to see the PM and the Home secretary likely shut away. Both had favoured Herd Immunity, rather than Lock-Down, albeit under different circumstances. Herd Immunity was the recommended solution as it always has been for viruses. Lock-Down will succeed only in trashing the UK economy. It’s only benefit will be for the rich who can buy lots of bankrupt companies cheap.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.