UK Cabinet minister under fire over secret Israel meetings

Priti Patel the International Development Secretary

Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, flies to Israel with her family for 13-day visit she later describes as a "holiday", paid for by herself.

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.

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".

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

The list showed that Patel also held meetings with Yuval Rotem, a senior official at the Israeli foreign ministry; Gilad Erdan, the minister for public security, information and strategic affairs; and Yair Lapid, a former finance minister in Netanyahu's coalition government and the leader of Israel's centrist Yesh Atid party.

After a hastily arranged meeting not long after Patel landed in London, May's office released her minister's letter of resignation, in which Patel said her conduct in Israel had fallen "below the high standards" required of her post.

"I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened and offer my resignation", she added.

The Jewish Chronicle article also states that the Prime Minister spoke with Ms Patel ahead of the UN General Assembly last month where they spoke of the meeting with Mr Netanyahu, and discussed details to give United Kingdom aid to humanitarian projects run by the Israel.

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And her future appeared to be decided after reports this morning showed she held two more meetings since her trip to Israel in August.

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.

Later that month, she also met with Yuval Rotem in NY, an official from the Israeli foreign ministry. "I am sorry for this and I apologize for it".

"My revelations today mean that there are some serious questions for Number 10 to answer about who knew what, when - including the PM".

In a clarification, on Monday she said that "this was not the case" and that he "did become aware of the visit, but not in advance of it".

The paper reports that Patel told May about her meeting with Netanyahu, as well as the details of her plan for United Kingdom aid to be shared with the Israelis.

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.

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