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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Priti Patel, Britain’s hardline home secretary, exposes the fault lines of a divided country

On the issue of immigration — and on Brexit, social justice, law and order and far more besides — her name serves as a Rorschach test for a divided society, reflecting acclaim and anger from each side of the nation’s cultural schism.

To her admirers on the right, she is a steadfast flagbearer for Brexit Britain; a principled patriot who, as a state school-educated daughter of Indian immigrants, is uniquely placed to move the Conservative Party away from its decades-old reputation as elitist and out of touch with the multicultural country it governs.

But to others, Patel is an unsubstantive ideologue who has failed to live up to her own uncompromising rhetoric; a central character in Britain’s untiring culture wars, once sacked for misleading her Prime Minister and investigated for bullying her staff, who remains politically bulletproof thanks not to her skills but her resolute…

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