HOME Secretary Priti Patel has pulled out of being questioned by MPs over the plan to send migrants to Rwanda, public confidence in policing, and other Home Office policies.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee was due to quiz Patel on Wednesday morning but she cancelled her attendance late on Tuesday afternoon.

Patel has offered to reschedule for September, when she may no longer be in post, but the committee chair has said they expect her to appear before the summer recess.

SNP committee member Stuart McDonald said on Twitter that Patel sent an email shortly before 5pm to cancel because of “recent changes in government”.

He went on: "Committee members are rather annoyed. More importantly so will lots of people on whose behalf we want to ask questions: people waiting for passports; people waiting for Windrush compensation; people waiting for asylum claims; people in detention pending removal to Rwanda…"

McDonald added that the last-minute cancellation was "not exactly in the spirit of the ministerial code", which he quoted as saying: “Ministers have a duty to Parliament to account, and be held to account, for the policies, decisions and actions of their departments and agencies”.

Patel was due to attend alongside her permanent and second permanent secretaries Matthew Rycroft and Tricia Hayes.

The committee said in a tweet: “This morning at 10.00am we were due to be questioning the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. She has declined to attend our session.”

In the email cancelling her appearance, Patel claimed that scrutiny was “always a priority” and suggested postponing the committee hearing until “a mutually agreed date in September”.

By that point, after Boris Johnson has been ousted from No 10, Patel may no longer be home secretary. The decision will rest with the winner of the ongoing Tory leadership battle.

In a written response to the Home Secretary, committee chair Diana Johnson said the last-minute cancellation was “extremely disappointing”. 

She said that MPs had been “given to understand that we still have a functioning government in place”, and quoted Patel as saying just last week that she was “entirely focused” on the business of governing.

Johnson finished: “The committee expects you to give evidence next week on Wednesday July 20, at the last available opportunity before the summer recess.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused the Government of being in “total chaos” and asked: “What on earth is going on?

“Why has Priti Patel refused at the last minute to go to the Commons Home Affairs Committee so MPs can ask her about passport delays, asylum delays, rising crime, falling prosecutions, record low rape charges, record high fraud and more?”