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Priti Patel quits over Israel meetings row

Priti Patel quits over Israel meetings row

A Downing Street spokesperson said: 'It is not true that the Prime Minister knew about the International Development Secretary's meeting with PM Netanyahu before Friday November 3.

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.

Labour had posed an urgent question over Ms Patel's meetings in Israel, held while she is said to have been on a family holiday.

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".

"But what I then found out Priti Patel mentioned that meeting and that Number 10 told her not to put that meeting on the list because it would embarrass the Foreign Office".

Later, Ms Patel insists the allegation that she kept the Foreign Office in the dark is false, telling a reporter: "Boris [Johnson] knew about the visit".

During the last 24 hours, more information emerged about further unauthorized meetings Patel had been held, and her fate appeared to have been sealed.

Netanyahu: Resignation of Lebanese President Highlights Iranian Danger
When he took office, Hariri promised "a new era for Lebanon", which had been in a political deadlock for two years. Having Lebanon plunged in chaos and instability can only exacerbate an already messy regional scene.

The fresh revelations are likely to pile extra pressure on Theresa May to sack the International Development Secretary, who is believed to have also met the Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in Parliament on September 7, and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in NY on September 18.

Patel then met an Israeli foreign office minister in NY on September 18. She adds: "I am sorry for this and I apologise for it".

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".

Local media this week reported comments from a Downing Street spokesman who said Patel had discussed the possibility of using British taxpayers' money to support a hospital run by the Israeli military in the Golan Heights for Syrian refugees.

Patel, who was born in London to a Ugandan Indian immigrant family, is - or was - a rising star on the right wing of the Conservative Party and a zealous advocate of leaving the E.U. Her political idol is Margaret Thatcher, who served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and died in 2013.

It also claims that although Ms Patel's meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu was not authorised in advance, the British government was made aware of it within hours.

"The prime minister met the secretary of state this morning to remind her of the obligations which exist under the ministerial code".

Stephen Pollard wrote in the Jewish Chronicle that an aide at Number 10 had told Ms Patel not to include the meeting in her update on Monday to avoid embarrassing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


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