Penny Mordaunt profile: joker who knows how to make a splash

Gladys Abbott
November 11, 2017

"This is the same minister who falsely claimed Turkey was about to join the EU", Labour MP Chuka Umunna said. "Penny Mordaunt must immediately distance herself from her predecessor in this regard". In total Patel revealed she had 12 meetings in Israel.

Whatever people remembered her for previously, Mordaunt's appointment has definitely thrown up the possibility for some memorable headlines.

Mordaunt, 44, is a pro-Brexit Conservative party MP for Portsmouth North who has held a number of junior ministerial posts, including the post of disability minister in the department for work and pensions from where she has now been promoted.

The Prime Minister will be hoping that the expected appointment of Mordaunt will restore a degree of stability to her government, following last week's resignation of Defence Minister Michael Fallon and the continued pressure facing Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over incorrect remarks made about a British-Iranian citizen to a parliamentary committee. Another senior Conservative said: "She has until Christmas to turn it around".

"An enormous thank you to friends, colleagues, constituents & the public for the support & kindness you have shown me over the last few days", she tweeted on Thursday. Mrs May now awaits the outcome of an investigation into harassment allegations against her deputy, Damian Green.

One qualification Penny Mordaunt brings to the Department for International Development is her gap-year experience working in hospitals and orphanages in Romania after the 1989 revolution.

She featured on reality TV program Splash in 2014.

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She was praised for a sequence of backward dives that saw her outlast contestants that included Toyah Willcox and Gemma Collins, but eventually lost to series victor Perry Kiely.

Elected in 2010 after a career in business and media, including as head of foreign press for George W Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, Mordaunt has cut a rather different path from many of her fellow MPs.

She worked as a magician's assistant to help fund her sixth-form studies, and topped a 2011 poll of the sexiest MPs.

Her hobbies are astronomy, painting and Burmese cats. Loves freedom & probably you'.

A prominent Leave supporter in last year's European Union referendum and a former armed forces minister, Mordaunt had been rumoured to be in the running to replace Sir Michael Fallon after he quit as defence secretary last week.

'Some 14-year-olds were still being bottle-fed, half had HIV, and many had been deliberately infected and had medicine withheld to hasten their end'.

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