News, Culture & Society

AMANDA PLATELL: My friend Priti Patel has got the steel to tackle knife crime as Home Secretary

Critics of Priti Patel’s appointment as Home Secretary seem less worried about her fervent Brexit views than her hard line on crime and punishment.

How could a woman who has supported the death penalty be fit for modern office? Well, perhaps Patel may be the answer to the soft justice now blighting our youth.

This week, a judge talked of knife crime being a ‘cancer’ that affects ‘all spectrums of society’ as he sentenced two schoolboys for their role in the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old scholarship pupil Yousef Makki.

One defendant, Boy A, plunged the knife into Yousef’s heart. Cleared of murder and manslaughter after the jury accepted it was self-defence, he was given a 16-month jail sentence.

Perhaps new Home Secretary Priti Patel may be the answer to the soft justice now blighting our youth

The other, Boy B, admitted buying two flick-knives over the internet from China, giving the lethal weapon to Boy A, and received four months.

As the judge rightly said, we are facing a knife crime epidemic — England and Wales hit a record of 43,000 stabbings last year and in London alone there have already been 78 knife deaths this year.

But if so, why give such paltry sentences? What kind of deterrent are they to any teenager considering getting a knife?

This week, a judge sentenced two schoolboys for their role in the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old scholarship pupil Yousef Makki (pictured)

This week, a judge sentenced two schoolboys for their role in the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old scholarship pupil Yousef Makki (pictured)

Just 16 months and four months for a young life? What kind of message does that send other kids browsing the internet, wondering if they’ll buy a knife, too, for protection or because it makes them look ‘streetwise’?

And let’s not delude ourselves that this is a gang-related crime in a sink estate. All three of these lads were privately educated from respectable Manchester families. Yousef was a highly intelligent teenager whose dream was to be a heart surgeon.

As someone who’s worked with Priti Patel on William Hague’s team when he was Tory leader, I can tell you that she will be straining at the leash to tackle leniency over knife crime.

She’s a tough customer, harder than steel — she’s tungsten.

She is formidably organised, first in the office and last to leave, and often worked seven days a week. She is well-turned out, never self-pitying and driven by the core Tory values she developed working in her father’s corner shops.

It is too late for Yousef but, perhaps with Priti Patel at the Home Office, other victims will see justice served.

Natalie Imbruglia is expecting a child in the autumn

Natalie Imbruglia is expecting a child in the autumn

Natalie fulfilled 

I’m guessing here, but I suspect the last thing Natalie Imbruglia — so sexy at the height of her fame — would have imagined was that at 44 she’d be childless.

As for many women, life didn’t work out the way she’d dreamed.

So, determined to become a mother, the singer used IVF with a sperm donor and is expecting her first child in the autumn.

Any woman who goes through gruelling IVF deserves our respect — those without a partner even more so.

And, while raising a child alone is probably the last thing she wanted, holding her own healthy baby in her arms has always been the first.

Rumour has it our much-adored Anneka Rice, 60, is the star ‘older woman’ for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. 

Steady the glitter ball! The Rear Of The Year-winning, jumpsuited goddess in sequins? 

Rumour has it our much-adored Anneka Rice, 60, is the star 'older woman' for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing

Rumour has it our much-adored Anneka Rice, 60, is the star ‘older woman’ for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly is littered with the bruised bodies of great women of a certain age — Jerry Hall, Susannah Constantine, Penny Lancaster, even Carol Vorderman — none of whom have made it into the semi-finals. 

Don’t do it Anneka, it’s a challenge too far. 

Westminster wars 

  • The new Cabinet is a victory for the bottle blondes, and I don’t just mean Boris! Half-woman, half-hairdo Esther McVey’s blowdry would have pierced a hole in the ozone layer. Yet that unforgiving overhead shot at the Despatch Box revealed Boris’s fast-expanding bald patch. At this rate, he will resemble his hero Winston Churchill before we leave the EU.
  • His sacking of well-respected Penny Mordaunt as Defence Secretary for backing Jeremy Hunt revealed some little known traits of our PM: that he is thin-skinned, petty — and demands utter loyalty. Something, sadly, he never offered the harem of women in his life.
  • Jeremy Hunt’s parting shot after being fired was a corker: ‘I have decided now is the time for the biggest challenge of all — to be a good dad.’

Ahead of Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions, a slimline Simon Cowell shows off his new torso, having lost nearly 2 st on a strict vegan diet. 

Everything is shrunken except his huge lollipop head. Perhaps no diet could ever shrink that ego. 

Carrie’s blunder 

The appearance of Carrie Symonds outside No 10, as her boyfriend made his first speech as Prime Minister, was both unwise and unkind.

The 31-year-old PR girl knew every camera would be searching for her, that her pink dress would dazzle against the grey suits, that her ‘shy-Di’ smile would end up on the front pages, as it did.

The appearance of Carrie Symonds outside No 10, as her boyfriend made his first speech as Prime Minister, was both unwise and unkind

The appearance of Carrie Symonds outside No 10, as her boyfriend made his first speech as Prime Minister, was both unwise and unkind

It was unwise because Boris’s more seasoned aides had pleaded with her to keep a low profile.

It was unkind because this would be the image Boris’s wife, Marina, who’s divorcing him, and their four children would have seen the next morning.

Despite her alleged media savvy, the First Girlfriend of Downing Street has a lot to learn about endearing herself to us.

Kim’s delusion as big as her derriere

Prior to Jennifer Lopez’s 50th birthday, Kim Kardashian claimed that the singer, actress and producer had been her ‘inspiration for everything’.

As far as I can see, the only thing the utterly pointless reality TV star KK, now 38, has in common with J-Lo is her ambition and her fulsome derriere.

Perhaps in time Ms Kardashian will discover that it’s not the width of your bottom that counts, but the breadth of your talent.

Bacca has been awarded a medal for bravery

Bacca has been awarded a medal for bravery

A dog’s life for our veterans 

Police dog Bacca has been awarded the equivalent of the George Cross for bravery, having saved his handler from a knife-wielding assailant while being stabbed, sustaining multiple injuries. 

Bacca is now retired and being lovingly cared for — which is more than we can say for the thousands of our brave soldiers wounded on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, so many of whom receive neither recognition, honour nor care in their retirement. 

Tonight Angela Rippon presents a C5 TV show: The Truth Behind Their Wedding. 

It dredges up an interview she did with Charles and Diana 38 years ago before they married and concludes Diana ‘slumped in the chair’, was ‘out of her depth’ and miserable.

Not half as miserable, one suspects, as bringing all this up again will make William and Harry.

There is speculation that the Queen will entertain Meghan at Balmoral to celebrate the Duchess’s 38th birthday next month, and offer gentle advice to avoid further PR disasters.

It’s hardly rocket science. I’d say: Wear a dress more than once.

Don’t fly off to New York on a private jet with Amal Clooney for a baby shower while also campaigning to save the planet.

Desist immediately from putting those arty pictures of your child on Instagram. The public foot your bills, so we deserve more than a photo of a foot.

It may have been the hottest-ever July day, but did some pot-bellied bloke really need to go topless on the train to Cambridge, his cellulite-dimpled, hairy back perspiring into the seat someone else would later have to sit in? 

Utterly gross, disrespectful to other passengers and unhygienic. 

No wonder he was on his own.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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