Patel and Dorries resign from cabinet after Truss wins leadership race

Outgoing home secretary says job has been the "honour of my life" ahead of expected reshuffle
Nadine Dorries and Priti Patel at the BBC Platinum Party at the Palace in June. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool

By Caitlin Doherty

06 Sep 2022

Priti Patel and Nadine Dorries have resigned from their respective roles as home secretary and culture secretary following Liz Truss’s confirmation as Conservative Party leader.

Truss beat Rishi Sunak to the Conservative leadership, securing 57.4% of the vote of the party’s membership. 

Confirming her return to the backbenches yesterday, Patel said being home secretary had been the “honour of [her] life” and thanked Boris Johnson for his support since she took the job three years ago. 

In a letter to the outgoing prime minister, Patel said it was her “choice” to step back from her ministerial role "once Liz formally assumes office and a new home secretary is appointed" and promised to give Truss her support. 

Patel told Johnson: “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 No.10 and in the Home Office to build on.” 

Dorries followed suit with a letter to Johnson this morning, saying she had made the decision to quit after "much reflection". 

But she expressed her loyalty for the new PM, and said she was "delighted" at Truss's election, who she believed would be a "worthy successor" in Downing Street.

She said she would be "better placed" to support Truss from outside the cabinet.

It is widely expected that Dorries will be handed a seat in the House of Lords in Boris Johnson's resignation honours list, triggering a by-election battle for the mid-Bedfordshire seat she has held since 2005.

Dorries, a key Johnson ally during his scandal-ridden final months in Downing Street, thanked the outgoing PM for his "trust, friendship, and your optimism and belief in us all".

Her decision to quit comes after Truss hinted that changes could be made to the government's flagship online safety bill which has been championed by Dorries despite concerns among some Conservative MPs that it could limit free speech.

Referencing the legislation, she said when she arrived in the department the plans had been "kicked into the long grass".

"We picked it up, we ran with it and I am proud that we have a bill which will hold tech giants to account and protect the lives of millions of children and young people," she wrote.

"The eyes of the world are on this bill and we, the UK, are leading the way."

There will also now be questions over whether the proposed privatisation of Channel 4, a flagship Dorries policy that has been met with fierce opposition in some circles, will go ahead. 

Dorries also paid tribute to civil servants and ministers in the department, who she said had "worked tirelessly" to deliver the government's plans.

She added: "I know they will continue to work with dedication to deliver meaningful and positive change for the public. They are fueled completely by the desire to provide better for those who need it and I leave the department so inspired."

Truss is expected to make ministerial appointments tomorrow, after being formally confirmed as the next prime minister. 

Truss will fly to Scotland tomorrow to be sworn into office by the Queen at her Balmoral residence before returning to London the same day to make her first speech outside Downing Street.

Caitlin Doherty and John Johnston are reporters for CSW's sister title PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared.

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