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Is Priti Patel the right appointment as the Home Secretary?

As Britain enters a new era of uncertainty under the leadership of Boris Johnson, it is his appointment of a new Home Secretary which is causing immediate anxiety to the British public. The appointment of Priti Patel as Home Secretary has left some people both concerned and horrified. The prospect of having a Home Secretary who has consistently demonstrated a hard-right approach to immigration related matters is a worrying outlook for the future of immigration in the UK.

This is indicative via her past actions which have led people to question her suitability for the role of the Home Secretary. She has both supported and voted in favour of a stricter asylum system, stronger enforcement of the immigration rules and was against banning the detention of pregnant women in immigration jails. Her views are at odds with campaigners and charities who have called for leniency in the rules pertaining to Asylum seekers’ ability to work in the UK.

Moreover, this unsympathetic approach is exactly the type of approach which is more aligned with Theresa May’s hostile policy. In fact, Priti Patel had backed a lot of Theresa May’s hostile environment policies which were bills that were presented to parliament in 2014 and 2016. Such policies included rent, work and bank account checks, which helped contribute to a lot of the Windrush Generation being told they had no lawful right to live and work in the UK.

Owing to the above, it does seem to be a complete reversal of the recent more sympathetic approach adopted by the Home Office to reverse the previous callous approach. However, the appointment of Priti Patel seems to suggest that both the new Prime Minister and the Home Office might be leaning towards returning to the damaging and brutal hostile policy implemented by Theresa May during her ill-fated time as the Home Secretary.

Major concerns over Priti Patel’s appointment have been reiterated by Clare Collier (Advocacy Director at the human rights group Liberty), who mentioned “Priti Patel is a politician with a consistent record of voting against basic human rights protections”. She goes on to state that her appointment is “concerning”. Even members of her own party have been taken aback by her appointment, with Baroness Sayeeda Warsi commenting that her appointment was “disturbing”.

Satbir Singh (Chief Executive of the charity the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) has commented that “Theresa May’s departure creates a real opportunity to fix a chaotic and inhumane Home Office”, he further goes on to state that “Priti Patel’s record doesn’t inspire confidence” but urges her to end the “universally unpopular hostile policy”. It remains to be seen if Priti Patel will alter her views now she is Home Secretary and there is a chance she may surprise us all with her policies and be popular, however, as the saying goes a ‘Leopard never changes it spots’.

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