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Priti Patel Resigns After Meetings With Israeli Officials

by in World on 8th November, 2017

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Following the controversy surrounding Priti Patel’s unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians during August, the international development secretary’s position seems to be under threat. Patel is expected to be the second cabinet minister to lose their position this week after defence secretary Michael Fallon resigned as several allegations of sexual harassment emerged. The call for her resignation comes after failing to confess meetings with senior Israeli figures, including prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Patel said:

“This summer I travelled to Israel, on a family holiday paid for by myself. While away I had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organisations. I am publishing a list of who I met.‎ The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of my visit while it was under way‎.”

“In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be misread, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures. I am sorry for this and I apologise for it.”

The Labour Party called for an investigation into whether Patel violated the ministerial code. It was made clear that if more undisclosed details of her meetings emerged that Patel could face dismissal. It then came to light that Ms Patel convened with the Israeli public security minister, Gilad Erdan and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in September following the August meetings without following proper procedures.

Patel is flying back from a visit to Africa at the request of the prime minister. Downing Street was made aware of the New York meeting with Rotem when Patel disclosed the details of the Israel trip , but did not learn about meetings with Erdan until Tuesday. Her meetings in Israel and the later meetings in September were not reported to the Foreign Office as procedure requires, and no British officials were present. Lord Polak, honorary president of the Conservative Friends for Israel lobbying group, accompanied her to all of the discussions, bar one. A Whitehall source stated that: “There was an expectation of full disclosure at the meeting on Monday. It is now clear Priti did not do that. It will now have to be looked at again.”

Prime minister, Theresa May learned of Patel’s meetings with Israeli politicians on Friday after hosting a meeting with Netanyahu in Downing Street marking a century of the Balfour Declaration. On Tuesday morning, it surfaced that further conversations had taken place with Israeli officials about sending aid money to the Israeli army.

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Update (GMT 7PM): Priti Patel resigns as international development secretary

Lamisa Khan

Lamisa Khan

Lamisa is an International Relations graduate. She enjoys eating cake, drinking lemonade and ranting about important things.