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‘Legitimate’ for Patel to attend Bond film in capacity as Home Secretary – Raab

Home Secretary Priti Patel (Aaron Chown/PA)
Home Secretary Priti Patel (Aaron Chown/PA)

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said it was “perfectly legitimate” for Priti Patel to attend a Bond premiere in her role as Home Secretary, pointing to both “fictional” and “factual” links between the security services and the Home Office.

It comes after Government minister Michael Ellis suggested Ms Patel accepted an invite to the screening of the film No Time To Die in her capacity as a Cabinet secretary because it had links to her department.

Asked if it was part of the Home Secretary’s role to attend the screening last September, Mr Raab told LBC: “I think it’s perfectly legitimate – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

Mr Raab, who is also Justice Secretary, suggested there were both “fictional” and “factual” links between the security services and the Home Office.

“I don’t know the circumstances around it, but given how hard the Home Secretary works, frankly I don’t begrudge her going to see a movie one night – and particularly given, of course, the links with the Home Office in both the fictional but also the factual service that is MI5,” he said.

James Bond works for MI6 in the movie franchise.

Daniel Craig
James Bond actor Daniel Craig at the World Premiere of No Time To Die, at the Royal Albert Hall in London last September (Ian West/PA)

Mr Ellis, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, made the comments about Ms Patel on Tuesday as he was challenged over the differences in the current rules on declaring benefits received by ministers and MPs, along with Commons Leader Mark Spencer.

The pair agreed it was worth debating whether ministers should be required to record their financial interests on a more regular basis, but insisted the existing process was “transparent”.

Mr Ellis was met with exasperation from the Commons Committee on Standards when he sought to explain why some benefits would be registered in a ministerial capacity, and others not – arguing connections could be drawn between the Bond film and “executive function”.

Asked why Ms Patel registered tickets to the premiere of No Time To Die in her capacity as a minister, rather than as an MP – the latter of which would require speedier disclosure to the public – Mr Spencer said: “I think it’s fairly obvious that she was invited then as the Home Secretary.”

Mr Ellis added: “The nature of the film one could argue is connected to executive function.”

As it stands, ministers do not need to register gifts received in their “capacity as a minister” in the House record, with departments instead expected to publish the details on a quarterly basis.

By contrast, any change to MPs’ interests must be registered within 28 days.