FEW Home Secretaries or politicians divide opinion so fiercely – but take Priti Patel’s own brand of Conservative politics out of this – and just admire the achievement.
State-educated, youngish (49) for a politician holding high office, the daughter of immigrant family shopkeepers, a smart and canny operator, and now in one of the highest offices of the land.
She is after all only the fourth woman to be home secretary – and many say it is the hardest job in politics, with none of the soft trappings of being in the top job itself.
She is also the first woman from an ethnic minority background – 20 years ago a woman doing this job and one from a minority would have been seen as impossible.
The history books will record all this – and it will outlast all the mutterings about her as an individual and a politician.
You may not agree with her politics, even as a One Nation, middle of the road, not anti-EU Conservative, but she would not have got to the top and stayed there without some very important qualities and talents.
Prime minister Boris Johnson may not say it very directly, but it is clear that he values Patel, both professionally and politically. Some on that wing of the party may feel we have a potential successor to Johnson himself and the Right of the party may coalesce behind her if he is forced to resign over lockdown party shenanigans.
Most recently since the Ukraine crisis exploded, she has been mired in a row over visa waivers. Britain still believed (at the time of going to press) that refugees had to have a British relative or someone with permanent residency to support a refugee application – even some Tories have voice their criticisms over