Priti Patel, 43, has been revealed as the new jobs minister in PM’s re-shuffle
Married mother-of-one is daughter of Ugandan shopkeeper Sushil Patel, 64
Mr Patel moved his family to Britain in the 1970s to flee dictator Idi Amin
Stood for UKIP in 2013 but claimed to step down 90 minutes into candidacy
Britain’s new jobs minister is the daughter of a Ugandan shopkeeper who fled east Africa in the 1970s and joined UKIP after arriving into the UK.
Priti Patel, 43, was revealed as the new jobs minister in Prime Minister David Cameron’s latest re-shuffle which came as part of a bid to shed his image of being out of touch.
Ms Patel, a married mother-of-one, will be only the second Asian woman to sit in the Cabinet, after former Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi.
She is the daughter of Sushil Patel, 64, who stood for UKIP two years ago and caused a furore after trying to withdraw his candidacy for the party just 90 minutes after it was announced.
Married Priti Patel, 43 (right), who has been revealed as the new jobs minister, is the daughter of Ugandan shopkeeper Sushil Patel, 64, (left) who fled east Africa for Britain in the 1970s and briefly stood for UKIP
As a Eurosceptic, she is a believer in low taxes and is outspoken about the need for welfare cuts. She has also hit the headlines for saying she supported the death penalty for the most serious crimes.
The mother of a six-year-old son fled to Britain with her parents when dictator Idi Amin persecuted the Indian community and ordered them out within 90 days.
‘My parents were kicked out of Uganda,’ she said in an interview. ‘They came to the UK with nothing, worked hard and set up a successful shop business.
‘There was a desire to work hard and to be successful so you didn’t have to rely on anybody else. Coming from a country where you’re persecuted means that you want to work hard and to contribute to the society where you end up.
Ms Patel (pictured outside Downing Street yesterday), who has been an MP for five years, was made Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury last year and has now been revealed as the new jobs minister by the PM
‘You become patriotic because you make your new country your home, and, as a result, you live and play by its values’.
Educated at a grammar school in Watford and Keele University, Ms Patel joined the party under John Major and her first job was at the Conservative Research Department.
The new Employment Minister is deputy to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, with responsibilities including jobseekers’ allowance and youth unemployment.
Although she is not a secretary of state, Mr Cameron confirmed she will attend Cabinet, as did her predecessor Esther McVey.
The role is likely to involve overseeing controversial cuts to welfare benefits, in efforts to slash £12billion in this area while protecting pensions.
Ms Patel wrote in a blog last year that under Labour the welfare system ‘bound people to dependency’. She expressed concern that ‘claimants who have never worked … enjoy a lifestyle that many other households could not afford.’
The Witham MP has been a leading critic of soft sentencing and votes for prisoners, and said in 2011 that the death penalty should be reintroduced for the most serious crimes.
She defected from the Tories in 1995 to James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party, but returned to the Conservatives two years later when William Hague became leader and promised not to join the Euro without a referendum.