Penny Mordaunt named as bookmakers favourite to replace Priti Patel as international development secretary

Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt
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Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt has been installed as favourite by bookmakers to become the government’s new international development secretary.

The Conservative politician is 2-1 on Ladbrokes to replace incumbent Priti Patel, who has been criticised for holding unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians.

Ms Patel was forced to cut short an official trip to Africa after being summoned to see Theresa May at Downing Street.

Ms Mordaunt, who has held the Portsmouth North seat since 2010, is currently Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health.

Last week she was linked with the vacant Secretary of State for Defence post after Michael Fallon’s resignation, but the position was given to South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson.

Ms Patel already apologised to Mrs May on Monday for failing to disclose a series of 12 meetings with senior Israeli figures during a family holiday in the country in August.

Priti Patel

Priti Patel

It has since emerged she held two additional meetings, one in the UK and one in the US, after her return from Israel.

Among the other favourites to take up the post, if Ms Patel leaves, include Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan and South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom.