Priti Patel loses security minister brief after less than 24 hours

Boris Johnson appoints another MP to take over role despite home secretary assuming responsibilities

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Friday 13 August 2021 22:54
Today's daily politics briefing

Priti Patel has lost the security minister brief at the Home Office less than 24 hours after she reportedly took it over on a “permanent footing”.

The government has been without a security minister for over a month since James Brokenshire stepped down for health reasons, and had not filled the crucial position with another MP.

Ms Patel, the home secretary, was this morning reported to have personally taken charge of the brief following wrangling about who should replace Mr Brokenshire.

A Home Office spokesperson, asked if Ms Patel was now holding the security minister brief, said: “The home secretary is responsible for all areas of Home Office business, including those related to national security.”

But on Friday evening Downing Street announced: “The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP as a minister of state (minister for security) in the Home Office.”

The security minister holds an extensive brief, with responsibilities including counterterrorism, serious and organised crime, extradition, cybercrime, economic crime, hostile state activity, and royal and VIP protection. It also covers natural disaster relief and online harms.

Labour’s shadow security minister Conor McGinn had said on Friday afternoon, prior to the announcement of Mr Hinds being appointed to the role, that the lack of a separate minister was a “clear sign that the Conservatives don’t take the safety of our citizens seriously enough”.

He had added: “Getting rid of a specific, day-to-day, senior government minister responsible for security and counterterrorism when Britain’s national security is under threat 24 hours a day, seven days a week is an abdication of responsibility.

“From the chaos in the Channel to the Police Federation declaring no confidence in her, the home secretary is clearly struggling to deliver on her current responsibilities. It is unwise that she takes on an additional role.”

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