Ministerial role

Secretary of State for International Development


The Secretary of State leads the DFID ministerial team, sets the overall strategy and direction of the department.

  • Cabinet and Cabinet Committees
  • National Security Council
  • All major spending decisions and overall delivery and management of 0.7%
  • Africa strategy and overview
  • Asia
  • Humanitarian response and reform
  • Global Britain and European Union exit
  • ODA reform
  • UN reform
  • World Bank, IMF and other IFIs
  • Communications
  • Economic Development (including CDC, trade policy and private sector)
  • Modern Slavery

Current role holder: The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP

Penny Mordaunt was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on 9 November 2017. She was appointed Minister for Women and Equalities on 30 April 2018. She was Minister of State for Department for Work and Pensions from 15 July 2016 to 9 November 2017. She was elected Conservative MP for Portsmouth North in 2010.


She was educated at Oaklands RC Comprehensive School and at Reading University where she read Philosophy.

Political career

Penny worked for Conservative Central Office, becoming Head of Broadcasting under William Hague. In 2000 she served as Head of Foreign Press for George W. Bush’s presidential election campaign.

In Parliament, Penny served on the European Scrutiny Committee, Defence Select Committee, and as chairman of the APPGs for Life Science and for Ageing and Older People. In autumn 2013 she was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP. She served as Minister of State for the Armed Forces from May 2015 until July 2016.

Career outside politics

Penny worked as an aid worker in post-revolutionary Romania before and during university. She was director of communications at Kensington & Chelsea Council and the Freight Transport Association and was a director of Diabetes UK, the Community Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. In 2004 Penny founded a media company, which she sold in 2010.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP

    • 2016 to 2017
  2. The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP

    • 2012 to 2016
  3. The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell

    • 2010 to 2012


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