wnol.info June 19 2018

UK's Priti Patel sorry for secret meetings with Israeli officials

June 19 2018, 02:35 | Irvin Gilbert

International Development Secretary Priti Patel. Chris J Ratcliffe Getty

Priti Patel under question over Israel trip

Kate Osamor, the shadow global development secretary, said: "Not only does it look like she might have breached the ministerial code, she has now been caught misleading the British public".

He said: "She also had meetings with a number of charities and I find it utterly unsurprising that the global aid secretary would want to talk to charities while she's on holiday in a particular area about whether or not we can use the British aid budget to diminish the humanitarian problems there".

British secretary of state for worldwide development Priti Patel has apologised for holding several secret meetings with Israeli officials during a family holiday in August, in which she discussed a number of issues, including India. During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she discussed her family background that included her parents fleeing Uganda in the 1970s and settling in Britain. May yesterday summoned Patel to No 10 to "remind her of the obligations which exist under the ministerial code". It is a total breach of the code.

On returning from her trip, Patel commissioned Dfid work on disability and humanitarian and development partnerships between Israel and the UK.

During her trip she also met with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Foreign Ministry Director Yuval Rotem, as well as with business people, charities, and other organizations. Clarifying her comments to the Guardian she said: "This quote may have given the impression that the Secretary of State had informed the Foreign Secretary about the visit in advance".

The revelations are highly embarrassing for Mrs May who was clueless about the meetings held between Ms Patel and Mr Netanyahu when the Israeli PM visted Downing Street last week.

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"This summer I travelled to Israel, on a family holiday paid for myself". "It is not about who else I met", she said, "I have friends out there". While away, I had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organizations.

She was accompanied by Lord Polak, the honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobbying group.

"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".

"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. "I regret it and apologize for it".

The spokesman declined to say if the code had been broken but said that May has asked Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, to assess how it can be made "clearer" in future.

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