Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt says cabinet post is '˜great opportunity'

A CITY MP has said she never planned to become a secretary of state, but has thanked the prime minister for handing her '˜such a great opportunity'.

Saturday, 11th November 2017, 11:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:35 am
Penny Mordaunt leaving 10 Downing Street, London, after she was appointed as International Development Secretary following the resignation of Priti Patel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday November 9, 2017. See PA story POLITICS Patel. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire POLITICS_Patel_145902.JPG

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, was caught up in a media frenzy on Thursday after being named the new international development secretary.

Her appointment in the role came after intense speculation following the departure of predecessor Priti Patel – who resigned after failing to declare that she met with Israeli politicians while on holiday.

Speaking to The News yesterday after her appointment, Ms Mordaunt said she would be giving the new role ‘her very best.’

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The 44-year-old said: ‘Yesterday was really mad. It is amazing. You can never really be prepared for something like that when it happens but I am totally delighted about it.

‘It is a great brief and as someone who spent time as an aid worker, I am really eager to get started to see what I can do to help people across the world.

‘I am sure many people in the city are on board with the work that Dfid (Department for International Development) carries out and I have had lots of messages of support from people across the city giving me their best, which I am really thankful for.’

On whether she had ever harboured a desire for a promotion to the cabinet, Ms Mordaunt added: ‘I do not think you can ever think like that. You cannot see a secretary of state as a target and instead you should be focusing on the good things you can achieve for other people.

‘Theresa May has given me a big opportunity and it is a really important job. I will be giving it my very best.

‘At this time of government, it is important for us to carry on with the job and deliver the best possible Brexit deal we can.’

She added that the coming days will see her getting to grips with the new brief.

Ms Mordaunt was previously the minister of state for disabled people, health and work at the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Royal Navy reservist was previously touted as one of the favourites to replace ex-defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon last week after his resignation, given her history as an ex-minister for the armed forces. But the prime minister decided to promote chief whip Gavin Williamson instead.