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The war on aid: the hidden battle inside Priti Patel’s own department

Through Dfid, Britain has run the world's most ambitious aid policy for 20 years. Now, the right has it in its sights. Can it be saved—and should it be?

By Steve Bloomfield   December 2017

Priti Patel has resigned. But what will happen to Dfid? Photo: PA

A few weeks before Priti Patel resigned as International Development Secretary, I spoke to a long-serving official in her department. He was tired, frustrated and had just decided to quit. “I just don’t know what we’re doing anymore,” he said.

The department he was leaving was not the one he had joined. Development experts had been overlooked for promotion, while fast-track civil service graduates with no overseas experience were being groomed for top positions. Indeed, increasing numbers of…

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