Dominic Raab and Priti Patel anger MPs by ditching committee appearances | Politics News



Dominic Raab and Priti Patel have angered MPs by cancelling their select committee appearances just ahead of parliament’s summer break.

Home Secretary Ms Patel was due to appear in front of the Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday morning, but cancelled her attendance the night before.

Justice Secretary Mr Raab was set to attend the Joint Committee on Human Rights next week, but has also postponed.

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The committee chairs have written to the ministers, appealing for them to stick to their commitments, but Ms Patel has already written back, saying she will not meet them until September.

By then, there will be a new leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, so it is not certain they will still be in their roles.

It comes after the government confirmed it was delaying a major piece of legislation, the Online Safety Bill, until after the summer recess, claiming there was “limited time” and “competing demands” in the run-up to the break.

Ms Patel’s appearance was due to take place at 10am on Wednesday, but the committee says it was informed shortly before 5pm on Tuesday that she wasn’t coming.

Writing to the chair, the home secretary said “scrutiny by your committee is always a priority for the department and me”, but that “recent changes in government, and in particular to the ministerial team in my department” meant she could not go ahead, suggesting a date in September instead.

Committee chair Dame Diana Johnson said it was “extremely disappointing”, and replied to the letter saying: “We have been given to understand that, despite the prime minister’s resignation last week, we still have a functioning government.

“It is essential that our committee is able to scrutinise the policy and actions of this government and, in these uncertain times, even more so.”

But despite saying the committee “expects” Ms Patel to appear next week, yet another letter saw the home secretary stick to her guns and reiterate her calls for a September meeting.

A Home Office spokesperson said the meeting had not been cancelled but postponed, adding: “The home secretary will appear at a later date, to be agreed with the committee.”

‘Extremely disappointed’

Mr Raab – who is also deputy prime minister – was not due to appear until next Wednesday in front of the Joint Committee on Human Rights to discuss his new bill of rights, but has already pulled out.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Justice said he would attend a session after the summer break, adding: “The introduction of the Bill of Rights followed an extensive consultation, and it will be debated and scrutinised in parliament in the usual way.”

But one of the chairs of the committee, the SNP’s Joanna Cherry, wrote to Mr Raab, saying she was “extremely disappointed”.

She added: “While we understand that there are pressures that come with holding [two jobs] accountability to parliament should take priority.”



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