Priti Patel held undisclosed meetings in Israel
- Author: Jon Douglas Nov 08, 2017,
Nov 08, 2017, 0:15
Labour's spokeswoman for global development Kate Osamor said that Patel should resign or face an investigation by the Cabinet Office for breach of the ministerial code.
Embarrassed by the revelations of the 12 meetings she held in 12 days during a "family holiday" in Israel, Patel attempted to diffuse the incident insisting last week during comments to the Guardian that the British Foreign Secretary "Boris [Johnson] knew about the visit".
A spokesperson for May's office said on Monday: "The prime minister welcomes the secretary of state's clarification about her trip to Israel and has accepted her apology for her handling of the matter".
She was accompanied by Lord Polak, the honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobbying group.
"Patel didn't think it was worth telling Theresa May that she had met with a foreign leader on Friday morning - more than two months after she had returned to the United Kingdom", stated PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield.
On Friday, after news of some of the meetings emerged, Patel launched an attack on the Foreign Office and appeared to suggest that Johnson was aware she was going to Israel. [Patel] would like to take this opportunity to clarify that this was not the case.
"This summer I travelled to Israel, on a family holiday paid for myself".
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".
She apologised for failing to follow the usual procedures that ministers inform Britain's Foreign Office before conducting official business overseas and said she regretted suggesting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had been aware of her trip.
Patel met Yair Lapid, the leader of one of Israel's main political parties, and made visits to several organisations where official departmental business was reportedly discussed, the BBC said. "I am sorry for this and I apologize for it".
Patel met with Netanyahu to discuss "the Israeli domestic political scene", she said, and to plan his United Kingdom visit, which took place last week.
"Patel has a history of showing favouritism to Israel and is suspected to cut or divert the essential aid that the United Kingdom sends to the Palestine Authority", Slaughter told MEE. She commissioned policy work as a result.
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 Foreign Office, it said, was "clear that United Kingdom interests were not damaged or affected by the meetings on this visit".