United Kingdom minister Priti Patel resigns over secret Israel trip

Posted November 09, 2017

But fresh fresh details suggest that Number 10 knew about meetings held with the Israel foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in NY in September but asked Ms Patel to keep quiet to avoid embarrassing the Foreign Office.

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Before the extra meetings were revealed, Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister continued to have confidence in Patel, who is now in Africa with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, after giving her a dressing down on Monday over her trip to Israel.

The BBC reveals she held a number of meetings at which official departmental business was discussed, including with the leader of one of Israel's main political parties.

"I then discovered this morning that Number 10 had been told by Ms Patel about her meeting with Israeli foreign office official Yuval Rotem in NY and had specifically asked her not to include it".

British secretary of state for global development Priti Patel has apologised for holding several secret meetings with Israeli officials during a family holiday in August, in which she discussed a number of issues, including India.

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"But that must be done formally, and through official channels".

A government spokesman said May accepted Patel's apology and met with her on Monday to remind her of the obligations under the ministerial code.

May responded in a letter, saying: "Now that further details have come to light, it is right that you have chose to resign and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated".

"But what I then found out Priti Patel mentioned that meeting and that Number 10 told her not to put that meeting on the list because it would embarrass the Foreign Office".

She apologized, but it has since emerged that she also met in September with Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan and a foreign ministry official.

Patel then met an Israeli foreign office minister in NY on September 18.

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On returning from Israel, Ms Patel commissioned work by DfID on disability, humanitarian and development partnerships between Israel and the UK.

Under British protocol, a cabinet minister would normally organize meetings through the foreign office and be accompanied by officials, and visits with Israelis would typically be balanced with meetings with Palestinians.

It also claims that although Ms Patel's meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu was not authorised in advance, the British government was made aware of it within hours.

Ms Osamor showed she was less than happy about that, telling MPs: "It is hard to think of a more black and white case of breaking the ministerial code of conduct but rather than change the minister, the prime minister somehow decided last night that it is the ministerial code itself that needs changing".

Asked whether Patel should be dismissed, the new defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: "The prime minister makes her own decision on actually who is serving in her cabinet, and they're only the prime minister's decisions".

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