Penny Mordaunt Appointed New International Development Secretary Following Priti Patel's Resignation

Julian Smith

Patel quit following days of revelations about undisclosed meetings she held with Israeli politicians and officials, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while supposedly on a family holiday in the country in August.

Labour MP Neil Coyle described the appointment as "further reward for lies and deceit", tweeting: 'Her false claims about Turkey in European Union referendum were appalling'. "Penny Mordaunt must immediately distance herself from her predecessor in this regard". 'Is that Penny Mordaunt I see standing next to Priti Patel promising to ensure £350m extra per week goes to the NHS?' he asked.

Whatever people remembered her for previously, Mordaunt's appointment has definitely thrown up the possibility for some memorable headlines.

She insisted that her trip had "nothing to do with foreign policy" saying the trip was "a family holiday paid for myself", but admitted that, on returning, she had "commissioned departmental work on humanitarian and development partnership between Israel and the United Kingdom, and on disability".

Penny Mordaunt was promoted from the work and pensions department to the job overseeing Britain's foreign aid as secretary of state for global development.

She was rocked by the resignation of Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who stood down after becoming embroiled in the Westminster sexual harassment scandal. She also delivered a weird speech in the House of Commons in 2013 about Easter and poultry, reportedly a response to a bet by navy colleagues to use the word "cock" as many times as she could in parliament.

She featured on reality TV program Splash in 2014.

The daughter of a Parachute Regiment veteran, Ms Mordaunt grew up in Portsmouth, attending a comprehensive school before being elected MP in 2010.

She has continued to play a prominent role in the bilateral relationship, a year ago the British government described her as their "first foot" to India as she toured Ahmedabad, Kolkata and New Delhi.

Last week, the party was in uproar over Gavin Williamson being appointed Defence Secretary - with one minister telling Sky News the Prime Minister was "so weak she's allowed the inexperienced chief whip to appoint himself".

Her hobbies are astronomy, painting and Burmese cats.

But the new Secretary of State for International Aid has direct personal experience of aid work, having helped out at a Romanian orphanage in 1991.

'Some 14-year-olds were still being bottle-fed, half had HIV, and many had been deliberately infected and had medicine withheld to hasten their end'.

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