Priti Patel held undisclosed meetings in Israel

Peter Castro
November 8, 2017

DOWNING Street demanded Priti Patel come clean about any more secret meetings with foreign politicians, as her Cabinet career hung by a thread.

Labour accused International Development Secretary Priti Patel of committing four "serious breaches" of the ministerial code over her trip to the Middle East in August.

Kate Osamor, the shadow worldwide development secretary, told the Commons on Tuesday that it was "hard to think of a more black and white case of breaking the ministerial code of conduct".

Priti Patel discussed giving United Kingdom aid money to humanitarian projects in a disputed region of Israel, Number 10 has admitted.

Patel apologized for failing to comply with the usual procedures that oblige ministers to inform the British Foreign Office before doing official business overseas and said she regretted her statement that Foreign Minister Boris Johnson was aware of the visit in advance.

Patel also conceded that comments she gave last week, in which she suggested Boris Johnson had advance knowledge of the trip, may have given the wrong impression.

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

"She saw the Israeli prime minister with a donor lobbyist, and failed to declare or admit to the meetings".

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Patel has faced criticism and calls for her to resign or be sacked over the meetings.

"There hasn't been any change in policy resulting from that".

The Opposition also demanded the PM order a formal investigation into whether Ms Patel broke the ministerial code - which she is so far refusing to do.

The PM's official spokesman said of Ms Patel: "Nobody is pretending she handled this situation well, least of all the Secretary of State".

Ms Patel is now facing calls to resign following the revelations, which also revealed that she was accompanied by Lord Polak, the honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobbying group, but no British officials were present at the sessions.

Burt said if he had met with Israeli officials "I would have told the ambassador of course". While away, I had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organizations.

Kate Ozmour, spokeswoman for the worldwide development of the opposition Labor Party, said Pattel should resign or undergo an investigation for violating the ministerial protocol.

Ms Patel apologised for arranging and reporting the meetings "in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures".

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