Priti Patel stumps up £45,000 to take up life membership at Marylebone Cricket Club

Good Lord’s! Priti Patel stumps up £45,000 to take up life membership at the exclusive Marylebone Cricket Club

  • Home Secretary took advantage of offer to jump its notoriously long waiting list
  • Most wait 20 years for right to walk into Lord’s pavilion and watch Test cricket
  • To help meet £30m in lost revenue from Covid, MCC this summer offered life membership to existing annual members and those on waiting list – like Ms Patel

Priti Patel has forked out tens of thousands of pounds to get into one of the world’s most exclusive sporting clubs – the MCC.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the Home Secretary has paid £45,000 to become a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

She has taken advantage of an offer to jump its notoriously long waiting list and take up life membership.

People usually wait over 20 years for the right to walk into the Lord’s pavilion and watch Test cricket.

Priti Patel has forked out tens of thousands of pounds to get into one of the world's most exclusive sporting clubs ¿ the MCC. The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the Home Secretary has paid £45,000 to become a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club. (She is seen above at Lord's cricket ground in 2018)

Priti Patel has forked out tens of thousands of pounds to get into one of the world’s most exclusive sporting clubs – the MCC. The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the Home Secretary has paid £45,000 to become a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club. (She is seen above at Lord’s cricket ground in 2018)

Ms Patel has taken advantage of an offer to jump its notoriously long waiting list and take up life membership. People usually wait over 20 years for the right to walk into the Lord's pavilion and watch Test cricket

Ms Patel has taken advantage of an offer to jump its notoriously long waiting list and take up life membership. People usually wait over 20 years for the right to walk into the Lord’s pavilion and watch Test cricket

But to help meet £30 million in lost revenue from the virus crisis, the MCC this summer decided to offer life membership to existing annual members and candidates on the waiting list – like Ms Patel.

A source close to the Home Secretary, 48, confirmed Ms Patel, who has been on the waiting list for ‘several years’, had taken up the offer.

The source said: ‘As a lifelong cricket fan and at a difficult time for the sport, Priti has joined MCC as a lifetime member.’

He brushed aside any suggestion the MCC had had to ‘chase her’ for the cash, saying Ms Patel is a ‘very busy woman’.

Life membership is sold on a sliding scale, with younger applicants paying more than elderly ones for the right to wear the club’s ‘egg and bacon’ tie.

However, Ms Patel’s move has surprised some fellow MPs. One said: ‘As this damn virus crisis means there may well not be much live cricket at Lord’s for a while, that’s quite a lot of cash to fork out.’ 

Another added: ‘To be honest, I didn’t realise Priti was interested in cricket.’

Bumping into another member could prove a little awkward ¿ former PM Theresa May. Mrs May (above, at Lord's in 2019), who joined two years ago after her application was fast-tracked, sacked her as international development secretary in 2017 when Miss Patel was accused of failing to disclose full details of meetings she had with political figures during a trip to Israel

Bumping into another member could prove a little awkward – former PM Theresa May. Mrs May (above, at Lord’s in 2019), who joined two years ago after her application was fast-tracked, sacked her as international development secretary in 2017 when Miss Patel was accused of failing to disclose full details of meetings she had with political figures during a trip to Israel

It means she will rub shoulders with other famous MCC members, including Sir Mick Jagger, Prince Charles and Captain Sir Tom Moore, who was given honorary membership in May after his lockdown fund-raising heroics.

But bumping into another member could prove a little awkward – former Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mrs May, who joined two years ago after her application was fast-tracked, sacked her as international development secretary in 2017 when Miss Patel was accused of failing to disclose the full details of meetings she had with political figures during a trip to Israel.

The scandal appeared to have destroyed Miss Patel’s career until she was brought back by Mrs May’s successor in No 10, Boris Johnson.

Would-be MCC members must be proposed and seconded by existing members as well as being ‘vetted’.

Reports last month said that the life membership move had covered the club’s Covid-related losses by bringing in £30 million over the summer.

However, some members are understood to have protested that the move bypassed tradition for commercial gain.

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk