Home Secretary Priti Patel during a visit to Thames Valley Police, at Milton Keynes Police Station in Buckinghamshire. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022. (Photo by Andrew Boyers/PA Images via Getty Images) (Photo: Andrew Boyers - PA Images via Getty Images)
Priti Patel is standing down as home secretary following the election of Liz Truss as Tory leader.
Patel, a key supporter of Boris Johnson, tweeted her resignation letter on Monday evening, saying it had been the “honour of my life to serve as home secretary for the last three years”.
It has been the honour of my life to serve as Home Secretary for the last three years.
I am proud of our work to back the police, reform our immigration system and protect our country.
My letter to Prime Minister @BorisJohnson 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/seTx6ikX25
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) September 5, 2022
Patel did not endorse any candidate in the leadership contest and was widely expected to be moved from her brief on the appointment of a new leader.
Reports suggest that Truss is preparing to appoint fellow leadership contender Suella Braverman to Patel’s role.
In her resignation letter, Patel paid tribute to Johnson for winning the 2019 general election and for breaking the parliamentary deadlock over Brexit.
“Under your leadership, we have made our country safer, strengthened law and order, delivered our manifesto commitments, and laid strong foundations for our successors at Number 10 and in the Home Office to build on,” she wrote.
“I congratulate Liz Truss on being elected our new leader, and will give her my support as our new prime minister.
“It is my choice to continue my public service to the country and the Witham constituency from the backbenches, once Liz formally assumes office and a new home secretary is appointed.
“From the backbenches, I will champion many of the policies and causes I have stood up for both inside and outside of government.”
Patel’s resignation comes as she today defended her controversial policy of sending migrants to Rwanda.
The High Court heard a case in which several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and groups Care4Calais and Detention Action questioned the legality of the plan.
Patel signed what she described as a “world-first agreement” with Rwanda in April but the first deportation flight, due to take off on June 14, was grounded amid a series of legal challenges.
During the hearing those disputing the policy said Rwanda was an “authoritarian state” that “tortures and murders those it considers to be its opponents”.
Patel rejected their argument in the Commons, insisting the policy was “legitimate” and replying “absolutely not” when asked to abandon it.
Despite the policy being launched to deter migrants from making dangerous crossings across the channel, figures released by the Ministry of Defence today revealed 1,160 people were detected on Sunday in 25 boats.
Since the deal was announced, 22,116 people have crossed the Channel to the UK in small boats.
Patel took a parting shot at the “political opponents” and “left-wing activists” she accused of seeking to block her efforts as home secretary.
“While they stand up for the criminals, terrorists, people smugglers, those with no right to be in the UK, and people who threaten public safety and would do our country harm, we have never faltered and never stopped doing what is right to protect the public,” she said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.