Priti Patel said DfID should be abolished – now she runs it

Patel wanted to replace international aid with private sector investment

 

Priti Patel has been appointed Secretary of State for International Development, despite being on record as saying that the Department for International Development (DfID) should be scrapped.

In 2013, Patel was quoted by the Telegraph, saying:

“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.”

Patel was previously the minister for employment, so the move represents a significant promotion and is part of Theresa May’s effort to reunite the party through giving plum jobs to Brexit-supporting MPs.

The choice of Patel also represents a break with David Cameron, one of whose proudest achievements was committing 0.7 per cent of GDP to foreign aid.

Yeseterday, in his final speech as prime minister, Cameron spoke about ‘the people on the other side of the world who would not have clean drinking water, the chance to go to school, or even be alive, were it not for our decision to keep our aid promises to the poorest people and the poorest countries in our world.’

If Patel has her way, that legacy may be shorter-lived than Cameron would hope.

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