Priti PatelMember of Parliament for Witham
Home secretary, Priti Patel, was first elected as the MP for Witham in 2010. Patel read Economics at Keele University followed by a master’s in British Government and Politics at the University of Essex. Her first job in politics was leading the press office of James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party from 1995 until the party’s dissolution in 1997. She then worked for the Conservative party, in William Hague’s press office. Patel served in the corporate relations department of Diageo, becoming their Director of Corporate and Public Affairs in 2007. In 2005, Patel unsuccessfully contested Nottingham North at the general election. She was selected as the Conservative candidate for the new seat of Witham in 2006, and at the 2010 general election she won a sweeping majority in the constituency. Upon entering Parliament, she joined the Members’ Expenses Committee and the Public Administration Committee. In 2013, Patel was appointed to the Number 10 Policy Unit, and the following year became exchequer secretary to the Treasury. After the 2015 general election, Patel was appointed as the employment minister and joined the Privy Council. Patel campaigned for Vote Leave in the 2016 referendum. When Theresa May became prime minister, Patel was promoted to the role of international development secretary but in November 2017, she was removed from the position after it emerged that she had held meetings with senior Israeli politicians without disclosing them to the prime minister. In 2018, she joined the foreign affairs committee and the committees on arms export controls. Boris Johnson appointed her to the prominent role of Home Secretary in July 2019.
Official parliamentary photograph taken by Chris McAndrew, 2017, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0