Home Secretary Priti Patel has given a speech to the Conservative Party conference.
In a wide ranging speech, which she walked out to with ghastly copyright free-esque music pinging in the background, Patel said the government was promoting “Conservative values” and “getting on” with the job of governing the country.
But what is the “job” in her eyes? And what are her future plans for office? This is what she announced:
Violence against women
Patel said the government was opening an independent inquiry into the police following the murder of Sarah Everard. She paid tribute to Everard and said that her murderer “whose name I won’t repeat” was “a monster”. She affirmed the government’s commitment to ending violence against women and girls and said she would also criminalise “virginity testing”.
“The British people want a government on their side, keeping them safe,” she said.
“I can confirm today there will be an inquiry, to give the independent oversight needed, to ensure something like this can never happen again.”
Law and order
Patel spoke out in favour of the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill which is progressing through parliament despite numerous protests against it. She said she wants to enact tougher sentences on those who commit violent crimes and said it was important to give more powers to the police, including stop and search powers, to do so.
“Our approach to crime will always be focussed on seeking justice for victims and survivors and ensuring that perpetrators feel the full force of the law,” she said.
Patel had harsh words for people who take drugs and accused the Labour Party of being soft on the issue. She said she will be expanding drug testing when people are arrested and overseeing the “harshest possible legal sanctions and consequences” to drug offenders.
While Patel did not name the group she was speaking about, she made a thinly veiled swipe at Insulate Britain – the protest group who have been blocking roads to raise awareness about the climate crisis. The group wants the government to insulate all UK homes by 2030 to help cut carbon emissions.
“I will not tolerate the so-called eco-warriors trampling over our way of life and draining police resources,” she said and called the actions the most “self defeating environmental protests this country has ever seen.”
People have the right to protest but “within the law”, Patel said and announced plans to increase the maximum sentence for disruption of a motorway and measures to stop interfering with national infrastructures such as roads, railways and newspaper printing presses.
Immigration and asylum
To rapturous applause, Patel announced the ‘dividends’ of Brexit. “We have finally ended free movement, delivered on our new points based immigration system, welcoming people based on the skills they have to offer and not on the colour of their passports,” she said.
“At long last, the British immigration system is under the control of the British government.”
She then moved on to slam the situation in which migrants enter the UK via small boats. She claimed the “majority” of people entering the UK in this way are “economic migrants” and also spoke about people smugglers and claimed her system would be “firm but fair”.
“All states have a responsibility to control their borders. Where there is a door, there must be a doorkeeper,” she said.
There is “no reason why any asylum seeker should come to the United Kingdom directly from France,” she added.
While it went down well in the conference hall, as is to be expected, Patel was also criticised on social media by commentators and politicians for her controversial policies. Here is what some people made of the speech:
The conference continues until tomorrow, when Boris Johnson will address his party.