Penny Mordaunt named as the new International Development Secretary

Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt has been appointed by Theresa May as the new International Development Secretary, replacing Priti Patel.

The Conservative MP replaces Priti Patel who resigned on Wednesday after it was revealed that she had arranged unauthorised meetings with members of the Israeli government.

Her new role was confirmed Thursday afternoon in a meeting between the MP for Portsmouth North and Prime Minister Theresa May.

The 44-year-old was previously the minister of state for disabled people, health and work at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Like her predecessor Priti Patel, Mordaunt also campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, meaning May has managed to maintain the current balance between both men and women and Remainers and Brexiteers within her Cabinet.

Patel resigned after she held 12 undisclosed meetings with senior figures in the Israeli government during a holiday to Israel in August.

Downing Street had no knowledge of the meetings until Friday last week, a spokesperson told Business Insider.

Patel had sought to authorise the payment of foreign aid to the Israeli Army, following the meetings.

The foreign office said the request had been declined as it was “not appropriate.”

Theresa May said that Patel’s decision to resign was a correct one, and argued in a letter to the former cabinet minister that the UK and Israel were close allies.

“But that must be done formally, and through official channels. That is why, when we met on Monday, I was glad to accept your apology and welcomed your clarification about your trip to Israel over the summer.”

But she added: “Now that further details have come to light, it is right that you have decided to resign and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated.”

Mordaunt’s appointment marks the second cabinet reshuffle since Sir Michael Fallon resigned last week following sexual harassment claims.

Penny Mordaunt has not yet released a statement regarding her appointment.

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