UK MP apologises for lying about undisclosed meetings in Israel

Nov 08, 2017, 00:40
UK MP apologises for lying about undisclosed meetings in Israel

Labour's spokeswoman for global development, Kate Osamor, said that Ms. Patel should resign or face an investigation by the Cabinet Office for breach of the ministerial code. Patel also indicated on Friday that all meetings she held during her holiday have subsequently been made public.

British secretary of state for global 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.

Theresa May is under pressure to launch an investigation into one of her Cabinet ministers for failing disclose holding meetings with top Israeli officials. 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".

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said Ms Patel should face a probe led by the standards advisor, after she was reprimanded personally by the PM.

The meetings were arranged by the Conservative peer, and Conservative Friends of Israel honorary president, Lord Polak, who attended the majority of them. While away, I had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organizations. The Foreign Office, it said, was "clear that United Kingdom interests were not damaged or affected by the meetings on this visit".

"I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be mis-read, and how meetings were set up and reported", Patel said in a statement. "I am sorry for this and I apologise for it", Patel said in her apology statement.

Ms. Patel said she met with senior Israeli figures, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Yuval Rotem and opposition leader Yair Lapid.

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The department has not yet responded to questions from Sky News, but Downing Street previously said Ms Patel was on a private holiday "paid for by herself".

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.

On Tuesday No.10 confirmed Patel had suggested the United Kingdom send aid money to the Israeli army in the Golan Heights.

"This is another out-of-control minister in [British Prime Minister] Theresa May's weak government, but this time with implications for Britain's standing in the world as an honest broker and model for fairness in distributing aid". Patel contradicted her previous remarks about informing the Foreign Office.

The PM's official spokesman said of Ms Patel: "Nobody is pretending she handled this situation well, least of all the Secretary of State".

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