Penny Mordaunt will be used to jobs that can get people into deep water, having appeared in ITV’s diving show Splash! in 2014.

People with disabilities will be breathing a momentary sigh of relief as Penny Mordaunt, former minister with responsibility for them at the DWP, has been named the new Secretary of State for International Development, replacing Priti Patel – who resigned in disgrace yesterday (November 8).

Ms Mordaunt will have important questions to answer about the state of her new department, and may be facing a considerable clean-up job. As a former magician’s assistant, though, perhaps Theresa May is hoping she’ll simply wave a magic wand and it will all go away. This Writer has doubts about that.

Like Ms Patel, she is a committed Brexiter.

One activity in which she is unlikely to participate was revealed by Ms Mordaunt while receiving her Parliamentarian of the Year award from The Spectator in 2014. She admitted that she had made a speech on poultry welfare the previous year, in order to use the word “cock”, as a forfeit for a misdemeanour during Naval Reserve training. She did so six times, employing the words “lay” or “laid” five times.

She was subsequently accused by Labour’s Kate Hoey of trivialising Parliament.

Considering the state of the current government, she will undoubtedly face stronger criticisms as Mrs May’s administration winds down to its now-inevitable collapse.

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