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Who next for DfID? Potential contenders as Priti Patel quits Cabinet post

Who will replace the outgoing Priti Patel in Theresa May’s next forced Cabinet reshuffle?

Priti Patel’s resignation as International Development Secretary leaves Theresa May facing a tricky second reshuffle in successive weeks.

The Prime Minister faced a backlash after replacing Sir Michael Fallon as Defence Secretary with Gavin Williamson and will hope that her latest enforced change is met with a more positive response from the Tory ranks.

Here are some of the potential contenders for the International Development Secretary post:

Sir Alan Duncan

(Andrew Matthews/EMPICS)

Currently Boris Johnson’s deputy in the Foreign Office, Sir Alan was at Oxford University at the same time as Mrs May and preceded her husband Philip as president of the Oxford Union. He has previously been a minister in the Department for International Development (DfID). As a Remain supporter, his appointment could upset Brexiteers.

Penny Mordaunt

(Ian Nicholson/PA)

The Work and Pensions Minister had been viewed as a contender for the Defence Secretary role and would give Mrs May the opportunity of replacing Ms Patel with another female Brexit-backer, maintaining the sensitive political balance in Cabinet and the current split in terms of male and female ministers. The Portsmouth North MP wore her swimsuit to appear on ITV diving competition Splash in 2014 to raise money for charity.

Rory Stewart

(Bob Collier/PA)

A former soldier, diplomat and writer, the Penrith and the Border MP’s life has been so colourful that Brad Pitt’s production company reportedly bought the rights for a biopic. Currently a joint DfID and Foreign Office minister, Mr Stewart had a short stint as an officer in the Black Watch before a diplomatic career which saw him become deputy governor of two provinces in Iraq following the 2003 invasion. Backed Remain in the EU referendum.

Anne Milton

(Chris Radburn/PA)

She has held frontbench roles in opposition and government since 2006, rising to Minister of State in the Department for Education, and could be viewed as having the necessary experience for a Cabinet job. The Guildford MP did not disclose which side she supported during the EU referendum battle.

Alistair Burt

Alistair Burt (PA)

A veteran with a ministerial career which began under John Major. He is currently a joint DfID-Foreign Office minister and was sent out to respond to MPs’ questions on Ms Patel’s controversial “holiday” to Israel on Tuesday while his boss flew to Africa for her soon-to-be-curtailed trip. Backed Remain in the referendum.

Theresa Villiers

(David Young/PA)

Resigned from government when Mrs May took office and replaced her as Northern Ireland secretary, offering her a more junior role instead. A prominent Brexit-backer, a return to the Cabinet would help maintain the current balance in Mrs May’s top team.

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