The new International Development Secretary wanted to scrap what is now her department

Priti Patel said in 2013 the department should be replaced with one that had a greater focus on trade

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The new minister in charge of international aid and development called for the department she is now in charge of to be scrapped and replaced, it has emerged. 

Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, said in 2013 that trade and private sector investment could take priority over aid. 

She was appointed to her new post running the Department for International Development on Thursday by the new Prime Minister, Theresa May.

In 2013 Ms Patel said: “A long-term strategic assessment is required, including the consideration to replace DfID with a Department for International Trade and Development in order to enable the UK to focus on enhancing trade with the developing world and seek out new investment opportunities in the global race. 

“It is possible to bring more prosperity to the developing world and enable greater wealth transfers to be made from the UK by fostering greater trade and private sector investment opportunities.”

Ms May has in fact created a new Department for International Trade, which takes on some responsibilities from the department for Business, Innovation, and Skill – which is now abolished.

That department is however not connected to DfID, and is run by Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox.

Ms Patel’s comments about aid and trade could give some clues to the direction she might take the department in.

She has previously been critical of money spent on administration in international charities, suggesting that money could better be spent elsewhere.

Ms Patel was previously an employment minister at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Prior to doing that job, she was a junior minister at the Treasury under George Osborne. She was elected to her parliamentary seat of Witham in 2010.

On her appointment to her new post on Thursday, she said: “I am delighted to have been appointed International Development Secretary by the Prime Minister and will make sure we invest UK aid firmly in our national interest, while keeping the promises we’ve made to the world’s poorest people.

“Successfully leaving the European Union will require a more outward looking Britain than ever before, deepening our international partnerships to secure our place in the world by supporting economic prosperity, stability and security overseas. That’s why my department will be working across government, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the new Department for International Trade, the Home Office and others.

“We will continue to tackle the great challenges of our time: poverty, disease and the causes of mass migration, while helping to create millions of jobs in countries across the developing world - our trading partners of the future.” 

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