Theresa May accused of covering up secret Priti Patel meetings

by Abel Hampton November 9, 2017, 0:37
Theresa May accused of covering up secret Priti Patel meetings

Priti Patel, the worldwide development secretary, also said that the meeting and others with senior Israeli officials had been conducted without the knowledge of the British Foreign Office and apologised for failing to follow "usual procedures". In the latest crisis for Britain's beleaguered government, the global development secretary Priti Patel cut short a trip to Africa, flying back to London after Prime Minister Theresa May ordered her to return.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said she should either call in her independent adviser on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allen, or "state publicly and explain your full reasons for why Priti Patel retains your confidence despite clear breaches of the ministerial code".

The PM said her decision was "right" as "further details have come to light".

"As you know from our discussions, I accept that in meeting with organisations and politicians during a private holiday in Israel, my actions fell below the high standards that are expected of a Secretary of State", she said.

Soon afterward, Patel submitted a letter of resignation, saying her actions had become a "distraction" from the work of her department and the government in general.

Under intense media scrutiny - including thousands of people following the progress of her plane on a flight tracking website - Ms Patel arrived back in the United Kingdom on a Kenya Airways flight to Heathrow.

Patel did not reveal her schedule of meetings with Israelis in advance, and she was vague about when Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his deputies were made aware of the talks.

Priti Patel has been unable to face questions from MPs about "secret" meetings she held in Israel because she is away on government business.

On 18 September, while in New York, Patel met Yuval Rotem, an official from the Israeli foreign ministry.

The BBC also reports that Ms Patel was accompanied by Lord Polak, president of Conservative Friends of Israel, (CFI), which has close links with wealthy Tory donors.

"She is the cabinet minister in charge of Britain's aid budget but sees fit to go rogue in a foreign country with the assistance of lobbyists and that country's officials, but without the knowledge of the foreign office". She adds: "I am sorry for this and I apologise for it".

During her trip in August, the Israeli government invited Patel to visit the Golan Heights, which was captured from neighboring Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and has been settled by Israelis.

Patel has been under pressure since it was revealed that she held 12 meetings with Israeli groups and officials, including Netanyahu, during a vacation in Israel in August - and that she hadn't told May or colleagues about it.

Ms Patel is given a face-to-face reprimand by the Prime Minister and reminded about her "responsibilities under the ministerial code".

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