Tom Watson casts doubt on government version of Priti Patel scandal

by Ray Hunter November 9, 2017, 0:36
Tom Watson casts doubt on government version of Priti Patel scandal

The latest bad news came when it emerged this week that International Development Secretary Priti Patel held 12 meetings with Israeli groups and officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while she was on vacation in the country in August - and that she hadn't told the prime minister or colleagues about it.

Patel held a 30-minute-long meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street, after being recalled from an official visit to Uganda.

"Now that further details have come to light, it is right that you have made a decision to resign and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated".

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.

"While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated".

"I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the government for what has happened and offer my resignation".

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Under intense media scrutiny - including thousands of people following the progress of her plane on a flight tracking website - Ms Patel arrived back in the United Kingdom on a Kenya Airways flight to Heathrow.

The Jewish Chronicle article also states that the Prime Minister spoke with Ms Patel ahead of the UN General Assembly last month where they spoke of the meeting with Mr Netanyahu, and discussed details to give United Kingdom aid to humanitarian projects run by the Israel.

However, The Independent is told she still faces dismissal because she did not disclose to the Prime Minister the Commons meeting with Gilad Erdan, the security minister.

On 18 September, while in New York, Patel met Yuval Rotem, an official from the Israeli foreign ministry. She adds: "I am sorry for this and I apologise for it".

Britain's worldwide development secretary has quit over her undisclosed meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

He said Foreign Office officials in Israel had only become aware of her visit on August 24, after she was already in the country.

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Patel admitted that after the 13-day visit, she had wanted to give British aid money to the Israeli army in the Golan Heights.

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.

Ms Osamor showed she was less than happy about that, telling MPs: "It is hard to think of a more black and white case of breaking the ministerial code of conduct but rather than change the minister, the prime minister somehow decided last night that it is the ministerial code itself that needs changing".

But new report claims Downing Street knew about the unauthorised meetings within days and suppressed them to save the embarrassment of the Foreign Office.

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.

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