Priti Patel’s cabinet future in doubt over “unauthorised” meetings with Israeli officials

Britain’s aid minister Priti Patel

The minister for International Development, Priti Patel’s future in the Cabinet Office is under threat following the disclosure that she held further “unauthorised” meetings with Israeli politicians during a personal holiday.

It has been claimed that Number 10 knew about these additional unauthorised visits and told Ms Patel not to include them in her original list of undisclosed meetings released.

The Sun reported that Ms Patel had also met Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director, General Yuval Rotem, in New York and Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, in London but had not informed PM May about either meeting despite giving her assurances there had been no other undisclosed talks.

A Whitehall source has confirmed that the meetings took place.

The source said that no UK government officials were present for these discussions, and they were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures.

Ms Patel was formally reprimanded in Downing Street, where she was asked to give details about a dozen meetings she had with Israeli officials while on holiday, which were not sanctioned by the Foreign Office.

Ms Patel admitted 12 undisclosed meetings held in August in Israel, including with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

No British officials were present and like her meetings in Israel, she did not report them to the Foreign Office in accordance with usual protocol.

Ms Patel was forced to correct the record earlier this week about the number of meetings that she had attended and when the Foreign Office had been notified about them.

 

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