WHOEVER Theresa May chooses to replace the disgraced Priti Patel (Patel resigns as Tory chaos continues, The National, November 9), they must start their new job by affirming that the sole mission of the Department for International Development (DFID) is to eradicate global poverty.

The UK Government’s aid budget must no longer be seen as a tool for securing trade deals and promoting big business, nor should the department be used as a platform for Brexit. It must also be a firm priority to champion international action to stop tax dodging, rather than continuing the UK’s shameful recent record of blocking it.

We warned repeatedly that Priti Patel was unfit to manage the UK’s aid programme. She didn’t appear to understand the purpose of aid or even believe in her department’s mission. Now she has gone too far with her suggestions of aid for the Israeli army, and it is right that she has stepped down. The fact that Patel’s resignation relates to her suggested use of aid for a security force is not an accident.

An increasing share of the UK aid budget is being deployed in conflict zones, often for use by security forces, and DFID’s strategy for this is very problematic. The new secretary of state must order an urgent review of DFID’s work in conflict zones and its support for security forces to ensure it meets the mission of eradicating poverty, rather than being subsumed by military and other foreign policy objectives.
Liz Murray
Global Justice Now

PRITI Patel’s fall from grace is all but complete, but you would never have guessed that seeing her being driven away from Downing Street, where she was all smiles in the car.

The more details that emerge of her clandestine movements and the deafening silence from Number 10 lead one to assume there is a lot more to this affair than meets the eye. The very manner in which May dealt with the situation gives the impression of weak leadership and fear. Weak in that she should have sacked her and not given her the option to resign, because in doing this, she leaves the door open for Patel to sneak back in to the Cabinet in another guise in the not too distant future.

Sacking would have made that much more difficult to justify. The fact Patel, on the surface at least, doesn’t seem too bothered about her removal, is probably because she has had a hint that she will return when the dust settles.

That and the fact there are deep suspicions that both Downing Street and the Foreign Office know much more about the affair than they are admitting. If this is the case, then a full independent investigation is paramount to get the facts out in the open. Both the SNP and Labour have demanded such an investigation and it is important the Government and, in particular, May and Johnson are held to account and not allowed to close it down or obfuscate in Parliament as is their speciality.

It beggars belief that even after the facts have become clear that some Tory MPs, notably of the Brexiteer variety, stand up and support Patel. True to form, Rees-Mogg gets his tuppence worth in by suggesting it was Remainers who tipped off the media about her subversive actions. This is rich coming from Rees-Mogg as he has been a constant subversive and divisive influence on all things Brexit and anything else he can get himself into the papers and on TV with.

If the opposition parties remain united in their demands for full independent and open scrutiny of this affair, it will have a seismic effect on May and her wobbly Cabinet, and to use a seasonal theme, with a bit of luck those turkeys will be stuffed before Christmas!
Ade Hegney