Politics

Penny Mordaunt: Who Is The New Defence Secretary?

Ms Mordaunt has previously held ministerial roles in the Ministry of Defence and is also a reservist in the Royal Navy.

Penny Mordaunt with Major General Patrick Sanders in 2015.

Royal Navy reservist Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as the first-ever female defence secretary, following the sacking of Gavin Williamson.

She says she is "delighted to be back at the Ministry of Defence" and described taking the role as "an honour and privilege".

Ms Mordaunt returns to the MOD after previously working as Minister of State for the Armed Forces from May 2015 until July 2016 and Parliamentary Private Secretary to then-defence secretary Philip Hammond.

She has also previously served as Minister for International Development.

The Prime Minister dismissed Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary, following an investigation into the leak of information from a National Security Council meeting.

Watch: Penny Mordaunt promoting the role of women in the armed forces in 2016.

The 46-year-old retains the job of minister for women and equalities.

First elected to Parliament as MP for Portsmouth North in 2010, Ms Mordaunt achieved ministerial rank under David Cameron between 2014 and 2016 and was appointed minister for disabled people when Theresa May took power in 2016.

She is possibly best known outside of Westminster for donning her swimsuit in the TV show Splash! in 2014, when she joined celebrities to be trained in diving by Olympian Tom Daley.

The daughter of a paratrooper-turned-teacher, she serves as an acting sub-lieutenant of the Portsmouth-based HMS King Alfred.

Penny Mordaunt in the cockpit of a fighter jet at RAF Akrotiri in 2015.
Penny Mordaunt in the cockpit of a fighter jet at RAF Akrotiri in 2015.

Here is a summary of her voting record on defence:

Voted against an investigation into the contrast between public statements and private actions in the run up to the Iraq war.

Consistently voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas.

Consistently voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system.

Consistently voted against strengthening the Military Covenant.

Consistently voted for military action against so-called Islamic State.

(Source: TheyWorkForYou).

Watch: Professor Malcolm Chalmers from the Royal United Service Institute says Penny Mordaunt will relish being defence secretary.