Following the revelation of 12 secret meetings with Israeli ministers during a holiday earlier this year, Priti Patel, UK Secretary of State for International Development was called back from a trip to Uganda and Kenya and forced to resign. CLICK HERE to be replaced by Penny Mordaunt.
Quite apart from these new developments, Priti Patel, has a worrying background in Public Relations, and is a member of the Lead Body of the Scaling Up Nutrition Initiative (SUN) SUN is an initiative that encourages developing countries to for partnerships with food companies to address malnutrition. (Page down)
Wikipedia on Priti Patel: ‘During her work at Weber Shandwick, she lobbied on behalf of British American Tobacco (BAT) for several years, with a memo from that company showing that she was employed to “provide strategic advice on the account with a particular focus on the Conservative Party”, billing the company for over £20,000 per month. BAT documents released in 2015 after a legal action indicate that she worked closely on a project to limit the damage to the company’s reputation that its Burmese investments had caused; BAT paid its Burmese factory workers £15 a month, and Patel was paid £165 an hour to counter the negative publicity that the company’s wage agreements generated. One BAT senior executive complained that Weber Shandwick felt uncomfortable about doing such work for a tobacco firm, but noted that “Priti [and another employee] seem quite relaxed working with us”. In November 2000, Patel was part of a strategy group looking at how BAT could influence the outcome of the World Health Organisation‘s negotiations on developing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Patel then moved to Diageo, the British multinational alcoholic beverages company, and worked in corporate relations between 2003 and 2007, shaping “a global strategy on responsible drinking” according to PR Week. On her re-appointment to Weber Shandwick in 2007 Patel was reported as having been in the Corporate Relations team at Diageo Plc, where she “worked on international public policy issues related to the wider impact of alcohol in society.”’
I saw her last at the Tory Party Conference in October where in her Conference speech (CLICK HERE for all the key speeches) she made many promises: announcing a radical shake-up and clean-up of the market for DFIDs aid contracts; and promising to lead the way across Government to ensure the highest standards of ethical and professional behaviour by DFID suppliers, with legally enforceable sanctions.
At the Save the Children reception later that evening I challenged her about the £1.5m given to Valid Nutrition for growing the business for Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF). CLICK HERE CLICK HERE for IBFAN’s Briefing questioning the evidence for the widespread use of RUTF for the management and prevention of malnutrition in the Community.