Where is Priti Patel? The Home Secretary hasn’t appeared on broadcast for weeks and, as reported today, she has turned down multiple invitations to appear at a select committee and discuss her department’s response to coronavirus.
But, given her track record, it is perhaps unsurprising the minister has been absent from our screens.
Here are some of the reasons she may be hiding from scrutiny.
1. Bullying claims
It has been alleged that Priti Patel has bullied her staff in the past, and an investigation into her behaviour is set to end this week.
Sir Philip Rutnam – formerly the most senior official in the Home Office – has accused Patel of belittling and swearing at staff, and is currently assessing whether he has grounds to sue the Home Office for constructive dismissal.
With it being inevitable that the media will question her about the release of the bullying report, Patel may wish to hide from the lobby.
2. Banning “low skilled” workers
Patel’s flagship policy as Home Secretary has been to introduce a points-based immigration system to ban “low skilled” workers from the UK.
These “low skilled” workers include nurses, paramedics and other individuals now on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign-born workers have proved they are immensely valuable during this crisis, and Patel must know she will be challenged on this point.
3. Absolving the government of blame for poverty
Priti Patel once said that the government could not be blamed for poverty, despite a mountain of evidence suggesting the contrary.
Perhaps, having witnessed the scale of people now claiming Universal Credit and struggling under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, she is having second thoughts.
4. General incompetence
In December, Priti Patel was ranked one of the ten worst MPs. Out of her depth, she may now wish to hide from the press for fear of being caught out.
We wouldn’t blame her.