PRITI Patel has confirmed her plan to resign as Home Secretary and return to the backbenches in a tweet.

Just hours after Liz Truss winning the Tory leadership race, Patel, who had been in the role for three years, made the decision to leave the position.

It has been widely speculated that Truss - who is set to appoint her new Cabinet on Tuesday - is planning to give right-wing Brexiteer and failed leadership contender Suella Braverman the role of home secretary.

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“I congratulate Liz Truss on being elected our new leader, and will give her my support as our new prime minister,” Patel's letter to Boris Johnson said.

“It is my choice to continue my public service to the country and the Witham constituency from the backbenches, once Liz formally assumes office and a new home secretary is appointed.”

The National:

It came after Patel faced accusations of overseeing a rise in gun and knife crime as she defended her record in the job.

As the Commons returned from the summer recess on Monday, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed “successive Conservative home secretaries” are responsible for a “serious problem” with violent crime.

Patel faced questions about crime rates after several high-profile violent incidents over the summer, including the deaths of nine-year old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool and pensioner Thomas O’Halloran, 87, in London.

The home secretary said she was “proud” of her time at the Home Office, which has seen “some of the biggest reforms on security, migration and public safety”.

The National:

As Home Office questions began, she had said: “Before I answer today’s questions and start questions, if I may, I’d briefly like to remark on the last three years of Boris Johnson’s prime ministership under which I’ve served as home secretary.

“This morning, a written ministerial statement was tabled in my name outlining the work of the Home Office, this department over the last three years on our manifesto commitment and with that, of course, some of the biggest reforms on security, migration and public safety which the Speaker’s just spoken about.

“I’m proud to serve in this government and I’d like to thank the Prime Minister, Home Office ministers past and present and a wide range of officials.”

Patel also defended the widely condemned Rwanda plan during the parliamentary session.

It came as campaigners challenged the UK Government’s agreement with the east African nation in court.

The High Court case – in which several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and groups Care4Calais and Detention Action are questioning the legality of the plan – began on Monday, with protests taking place in Edinburgh, Glasgow and across the UK.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was among those to address dozens of protesters who gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice and chanted “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” while waving placards saying “Stop Rwanda” as the case continued inside.

The National:

During the hearing those disputing the policy said Rwanda was an “authoritarian state” that “tortures and murders those it considers to be its opponents”.

But later in the Commons Patel stood by her move, replying “absolutely not” when she was asked to abandon the policy and insisting it was “legitimate”.

What is Patel's legacy?

Patel had already courted controversy before she joined Johnson’s Cabinet in 2019.

In 2017 she was forced to resign as international development secretary by then-prime minister Theresa May over unauthorised contacts with Israeli officials.

Even that was not the first time Patel made the headlines.

In 2006 Patel said she was in favour of the “ultimate punishment” for the worst crimes and, during a Question Time debate in 2011, supported the death penalty – although she has since insisted her comments were taken out of context.

Johnson himself described Patel as a “hardline” home secretary, even joking that, under her, the UK could become the “Saudi Arabia of penal policy”.

During the course of her tenure, Patel has been accused of bullying staff; became embroiled in a war of words with France over tackling the growing numbers of people crossing the English Channel; was dogged by criticism from campaigners over a wave of sweeping immigration and asylum reforms amid accusations her policies were “anti-refugee”; and fell out of favour with the police amid a row over pay freezes.

Johnson famously vowed to “stick with Prit” when bullying allegations swirled and his then adviser on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allan, quit his post when the Prime Minister overruled his conclusion that she had breached the ministerial code.

The fallout resulted in former Home Office permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam accepting a six-figure sum from the Government after launching legal action against her following his dramatic resignation in 2020, in which he accused her of bullying subordinates and carrying out a “vicious and orchestrated” briefing campaign against him.

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That same year, while there were growing tensions between the Government and the legal profession, Patel caused a storm with an “ill-advised” tweet about the deaths of 39 migrants in Essex during an ongoing people smuggling trial. This prompted a judge to direct jurors to ignore comments made by politicians on social media.

Johnson stood by Patel again last year over more claims of ministerial code breaches amid allegations she arranged a meeting between a billionaire Tory donor and British Airways.

London-born Patel has also clashed with others over racism. She hit back at a group of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Labour MPs who accused her of using her Ugandan-Indian heritage to cast doubt on black communities’ experience of racism, telling them she refused to “take lectures” on prejudice as she described being frequently racially abused.

Despite her condemnation of racism faced by England footballers, she was also criticised for describing the action of players taking the knee as “gesture politics”.