m3n4.net
m3n4.net November 17, 2018


UK Cabinet minister under fire over secret Israel meetings

09 November 2017, 12:38 | Tara Lloyd

PA Wire PA Images Theresa May meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah but was not aware he had met with Priti Patel in August

PA Wire  PA Images                   Theresa May meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah but was not aware he had met with Priti Patel in August

Patel had already been rebuked by No 10 after giving the false impression in an interview with the Guardian that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Foreign Office knew about the meetings she had held over the summer in Israel.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017.

Prime Minister Theresa May's office released Ms Patel's resignation letter overnight in which Ms Patel apologised for causing "a distraction" from the work of the Government.

Opposition MPs called for her to resign if she breached the ministerial code of conduct, but a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that she had accepted Patel's apology and considered the matter closed.

"In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be misread, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures", she said.

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The beleaguered UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel appeared to be on the brink of departure from the cabinet this morning following revelations of more undisclosed meetings with senior Israeli officials.

Ms Patel had been intending to spend three days in Kenya and Uganda, but was forced to cut short her trip and return home from Nairobi to explain the disclosure of further unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians.

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".

Former Conservative foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind told BBC the meeting were "extremely unwise", adding: "Not only did she not tell the Foreign Office directly, so far as I'm aware the British Embassy in Israel wasn't aware that this was happening".

A senior British minister on Monday admitted that she held a previously undisclosed meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while on holiday in Israel in August. "I am sorry for this and I apologize for it". Government secretaries in Britain are sent on missions overseas; they do not freelance their own foreign policy while on vacation with their families.

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If so, what was the goal of this meeting or meetings, and when and where did they take place?

Ms Patel was also reported to have visited the Golan Heights, territory disputed between Israel and Syria, which British officials tend to avoid.

"What is 99% certain is that she knew on the day of the meeting". According to news reports, Lord Polak sat in on 11 of the 12 meetings, including the one with Netanyahu.

The meetings were a potential breach of ministerial protocol.

The Tory peer is also chair of the advisory board of TWC Associates, a strategic consultancy that boasts about its understanding of how "public policy is shaped" and how "our clients can best be plugged into the political process".

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That encounter was not exactly secret, either.



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