BRITAIN’S newest cabinet minister has a track record of being sawn in half in Bournemouth hotels.

Former magician’s assistant Penny Mordaunt was appointed international development secretary after the resignation last night of Priti Patel.

Ms Patel had apologised to the prime minister after holding unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians in August, but further questions arose about further meetings held in September.

Ms Mordaunt, 44-year-old MP for Portsmouth North, visited Bournemouth last year to campaign for a Leave vote in the EU referendum, along with Michael Gove, now environment secretary, and Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns.

She recalled then how she had been sawn in half and chopped to bits in several Bournemouth hotel ballrooms – as assistant to the magician Will Ayling, who was once president of the Magic Circle.

She went on to be the first person in her family to go to university and had a career in business, the public sector and charity, becoming director of Diabetes UK.

She was the first female MP to be minister for armed forces and went on to become minister for disabled people, health and work.

She took part in ITV's celebrity diving series Splash!

Theresa May's decision to appoint a Brexit-supporting replacement for Mrs Patel leaves in tact the balance between Leave and Remain ministers in the cabinet.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood was also tipped as a contender for Ms Patel's job.