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  • Jude D'Alesio

In Conversation with the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP

Following an introduction from Bob Blackman MP, a patron and keen supporter of Conservative Friends of the Commonwealth, Priti begins by outlining her journey into politics. Inspired by Margaret Thatcher, Priti greatly admired her reforming zeal and the ‘liberation’ she gave to the British people in the face of immense resistance, particularly from the state itself. Priti also remarked how she views herself as a grassroots activist ‘first and foremost’ and how grassroots activists are the lifeblood of the party, with this experience making allowing her to be a more effective Home Secretary.

Interestingly, Priti moves on to highlight the practice of the Labour Party for taking the votes of ethnic minorities for granted and how she has personally experienced racist abuse from the left for a perceived abandonment of her roots, despite being a successful example of someone from Indian-origin. Priti jokes that she is the ‘most trolled politician’ in the United Kingdom, but argues the serious point that social media platforms have a responsibility to eliminate the vituperative bile sputtered towards Conservatives on their platforms.

On the subject of political correctness, Priti describes this as a simple fact of modern politics where everyone is waiting to criticise politicians who speak out of turn, however, that this should never stifle the making of serious arguments nor the authenticity of politicians. The question of authenticity also leads Priti to praise the prime minister who has demonstrated significant authenticity in his commendable leadership during the pandemic, which a previous CFOC guest, Sir Lynton Crosby, describing as core to a politician’s arsenal.

Priti finishes the conservation, naturally, on the subject of the Commonwealth which forms part of the ‘DNA’ of Conservatives. Having released the shackles of the European Union, Priti declares that this is the moment to embrace Commonwealth countries and that the future is hugely positive for a range of factors including mobility, the economy and the aspirations of women in particular. Specifically on the CANZUK partnership, Priti describes how we everyone will benefit from stronger international partnerships, particularly CANZUK, from free trade deals which decrease prices for British consumers and that the potential for such deals is now ‘unlimited’ following our departure from the European Union.

This article is only a summary of the points discussed in the event, of which there were many, and you can watch the full recording here -

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