THE BREXIT-supporting minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt, yesterday was promoted to International Development Secretary by PM May replacing Israeli backed Priti Patel, after she resigned from the Cabinet over secret talks with Israeli leaders.
As a female MP who is a Royal Navy reservist, Mordaunt had been touted as a possible replacement for Michael Fallon after he resigned as defence secretary last week. Her appointment came after ‘Leave’ MPs warned that if Patel’s successor was a ‘Remainer’ the party could split and the government fall.
Patel’s allies have meanwhile warned that she is in a position to do ‘hard damage’ to the Prime Minister after she was forced to resign over her secret meetings with Israeli politicians. Also under extreme pressure is Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Yesterday he refused to answer accusations that his remarks to MPs had worsened the harsh conditions of a British woman jailed in Iran on charges of espionage.
The campaign to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said it has been shocked by comments on Iranian state TV which said that Johnson’s remark to the UK parliament’s foreign affairs committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was ‘simply teaching people journalism’ confirmed that the decision to jail her was correct.
There are now many demands that Johnson must also be sacked and replaced. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s local MP, Labour’s Tulip Siddiq, added to the criticism of Johnson. The Hampstead and Kilburn MP posted on Twitter: ‘His errors aren’t funny –for my constituent this is life and death. Please @theresa_may – act now to help #FreeNazanin.’
Labour MP Stella Creasy added: ‘This is sickening. Boris’ behaviour being tolerated creates not just diplomatic nightmares, but a life and death moment for Nazanin Ratcliffe. A stronger PM would have forced him to apologise. A decent man would do so without asking.’