United Kingdom minister Patel suspends foreign trip

Michele Moreno
November 9, 2017

British Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel talks on a mobile phone in a auto as she arrives at Downing Street on November 8, 2017, after being summoned back to London by the prime minister.

8 November - Downing Street orders Ms Patel to cancel meetings and return home immediately from Kenya, amid a growing belief that she will be sacked.

Ms May reportedly responded in another letter to say she believed that Ms Patel has made the "right" decision.

At 13 out of a total of 14 meetings with Israeli officials over August and September, she was accompanied by Lord Polak, a lobbyist and a leading member of Conservative Friends of Israel.

"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.

On 7 September, Patel met with Gilad Erdan in London, Israel's strategic affairs minister whose purview includes fighting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The minister apologised and admitted a "lack of precision" for suggesting last week that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson knew about the trip, and that only two meetings had taken place.

Was Priti Patel acting with your authorisation in any of the meetings she held during her visit to Israel?

The fresh revelations are likely to pile extra pressure on Theresa May to sack the International Development Secretary, who is believed to have also met the Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in Parliament on September 7, and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in NY on September 18.

It is understood that Downing Street was told about the NY breakfast with Mr Rotem when Ms Patel revealed the details of her trip to Israel, but No 10 only learnt on Tuesday about the meeting with Mr Erdan.

Britain's global development secretary has quit over her undisclosed meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

Number 10 confirmed that Patel had discussed the possibility of United Kingdom aid being used to support medical assistance for refugees from the Syrian civil war arriving in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The statement added that the Foreign Office was aware of the visit while it was underway, but was not informed about it in advance.

But while acting quickly to force Patel to resign, the loss of an enthusiastic Brexit campaigner from her cabinet team of top ministers could mean that May faces greater pressure from lawmakers to pursue a clean break from the EU.

"The prime minister met the secretary of state this morning to remind her of the obligations which exist under the ministerial code".

The statement said that Patel and Netanyahu had held an "introductory meeting" in which they had discussed Patel's family background as the daughter of Ugandan Indian migrants growing up in an area of the United Kingdom with a "thriving Jewish community".

The Sun newspaper reported yesterday that Patel had also failed to disclose that she had met the director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, Yuval Rotem, in NY and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in London.

Other reports by Insurance News

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