‘There are no boundaries’ Priti Patel tells LBC on International Women's Day

8 March 2021, 11:27

By Joe Cook

More should be done to encourage women into leadership positions and make clear “there are no boundaries”, the home secretary has told LBC in an exclusive interview to mark International Women’s Day.

Priti Patel, who is the most senior woman in the government, told LBC International Women’s Day was a “really good opportunity” to “continue to speak out about the role of leadership, what it takes in terms of being a leader,” and to give a “voice and confidence to others to come forward into leadership roles”.

The home secretary said the women she has been speaking to as part of the Home Office’s consultation on violence against women and girls are “the very youngsters who will become our leaders of tomorrow”.

“Making sure that we can invest in them, continue to grow them, give them the confidence, the ability for them to speak out and speak up is absolutely crucial,” she added.

Watch: Home Secretary Priti Patel: I don't agree with taking the knee

A flag to mark International Women's Day was unfurled outside Parliament on Monday morning.
A flag to mark International Women's Day was unfurled outside Parliament on Monday morning. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Media

“There are just so many good opportunities and I definitely think - certainly the United Kingdom being the type of country it is - we have these opportunities and we should definitely encourage more and more girls and women to go for it.

“You know, there are no boundaries. We should absolutely encourage them to go for those big positions of leadership that they aspire to hold.”

However, Ms Patel has come under fire for her own leadership while in government, with claims that she bullied staff beneath her.

Last week the Home Office reportedly agreed to pay £340,000 to settle a legal case brought by a former Whitehall official, who claimed he was forced out of his job for defending his staff against her.

Read more: Primary and secondary pupils return to classrooms in England for the first time in months

Read more: Tennis star Serena Williams leads support of Meghan Markle after Oprah interview

Boris Johnson, who has defended the home secretary amidst the bullying claims, also used International Women’s Day to speak out about female leaders.

The prime minister praised the work of Professor Sarah Gilbert, who helped develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, former vaccines taskforce head Kate Bingham, medical regulator boss Dr June Raine, and NHS England's Dr Emily Lawson and Dr Nikki Kanani.

"This International Women's Day I want to pay tribute to some of the leading figures in the UK's vaccination programme," he said.

"Their ingenuity, dedication and hard work is an inspiration to all of us."

Oxford Professor Sarah Gilbert was amongst those the prime minister highlighted on International Women's Day.
Oxford Professor Sarah Gilbert was amongst those the prime minister highlighted on International Women's Day. Picture: PA

Away from politics, to mark International Women’s Day the Metropolitan Police carried out their first all-female operation to tackle robbery and violent crime.

Every callout related to the offences in two south London boroughs on Saturday night was attended by an all-female team.

Read more: Meghan tells Oprah: 'I just didn't want to be alive anymore'

The Met carried out their first all-female operation on Saturday evening.
The Met carried out their first all-female operation on Saturday evening. Picture: Met Police

Celebrities, including Helena Bonham Carter and Benedict Cumberbatch, have also voiced their support for female leadership, as the annual March4Women moves online due to coronavirus restrictions.

Instead of the usual rally or march through central London, organisers are urging people to join their Stop Telling Half The Story campaign online, which is calling for more female leadership during times of crisis.

The campaign, organised by Care International, is also calling for the UK to be a champion for diverse women's voices in 2021, and to campaign for gender justice and women's leadership at international events including the G7 and Cop26.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

iPhones are among the affected devices

Apple reveals serious security issue with iPhones, iPads and Macs that could give hackers complete control

Another day of travel chaos awaits commuters in and to London

Unions threaten to strike for 'as long as it takes' as millions face more travel chaos in London

The officer has been charged with dangerous driving

Armed officer charged with dangerous driving after he drove unmarked car to Streatham terror attack

Ryan Giggs' raunchy poems to his ex were read out in court

Ryan Giggs' mother sits in court as raunchy 'totem pole' poems he sent to ex are read out

Ms Marin said she is a normal 36-year-old who spends time with her friends

Finnish PM denies drug taking after footage of 36-year-old dancing at 'wild' party emerges

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A new image, on the right, has been released

New image of man released by police after girl, 6, abducted and taken to woodland in Droylsden

Mr Mendy and Mar Matturie deny a string of sex offences

Benjamin Mendy 'told rape victim he had sex with 10,000 women and it was a privilege'

Anger as Southern Water ‘unsure’ how many litres of sewage released at closed beaches

Sewage scandal: pollution plaguing Britain’s beaches and beauty spots as water firms told 'clean up your act'

Rishi said his go-to item with his daughters would be a breakfast wrap, which has been discontinued

Rishi Sunak’s 'go-to' McDonald’s order with his family taken off menu over two years ago

Salman Rushdie suspect had ‘read two pages’ of the Satanic verses, after mother says ‘I’m done with him’.

Salman Rushdie attack suspect reveals he 'only read two pages' of Satanic Verses

Sadiq Khan said the heatwave was partly to blame for the recent rise in violent crime

Sadiq Khan blames London's rise in violent crime on longer days, school holidays and the heatwave

MP Margaret Ferrier has pleaded guilty to breaching Covid rules

MP Margaret Ferrier pleads guilty to Covid rule breach

The body of Aran Chada, 51, was found hundreds of metres below the surface of Lake Garda

Body of ‘Hero’ British father found at bottom of Italian Lake after he jumped from boat to save his son

Jeremy Corbyn joined striking rail workers on a picket line at Euston this morning

Labour MPs defy Starmer again by joining striking rail workers as Corbyn shows up sporting black eye

Forensic investigators at the scene in Auckland where the children's bodies were found

Horrified family finds bodies of two children in suitcases bought at abandoned storage unit sale in New Zealand