I don't know what Priti Patel was thinking, admits Iain Duncan Smith

Anita Tucker
November 8, 2017

"My first and only aim as the Secretary of State for International Development is to put the interests of British taxpayers and the world's poor at the front of our development work".

It was confirmed that Ms Patel did not reveal her meetings only afterwards.

The International Development Secretary is under mounting pressure to explain her actions after it was revealed she held a series of meetings with Israeli government ministers without informing Downing Street.

While Patel's secret meeting with the Israeli's is seen by many as a clear breach of the ministerial code of conduct, some have pointed to the paralysis within May's government in punishing this kind of rogue behaviour, especially when it comes to UK's relations with Israel.

"It is hard to escape the conclusion that had she been a more expendable minister - Mark Garnier, for instance - or if the prime minister was in a position of strength, Patel would have faced a Cabinet Office inquiry at best, and her P45 at worst". [Patel] would like to take this opportunity to clarify that this was not the case.

Patel insisted that she had gone to Israel on a "family holiday" but her trip, which was organised by Lord Polak honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel, was described by critics as an attempt to win favour with wealthy pro-Israeli Conservative donors who could fund a potential future leadership campaign.

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Ms Patel apologised for arranging and reporting the meetings "in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures".

"I am sorry for this and I apologise for it", Ms. Patel said in a statement.

Patel met Yair Lapid, the leader of one of Israel's main political parties, and made visits to several organisations where official departmental business was reportedly discussed, the BBC said. The Foreign Office, it said, was "clear that United Kingdom interests were not damaged or affected by the meetings on this visit".

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.

However Downing Street said that she will not face an official inquiry into her failure to disclose the meetings.

"No I think exactly what has happened is she's had these meetings, I assume these were not meetings that were originally scheduled, and that having had these meetings she's then informed Boris Johnson and the Foreign Office of what took place in those meetings". May yesterday summoned Patel to No 10 to "remind her of the obligations which exist under the ministerial code". "She's toast." Patel held meetings with Israeli ministers, charities and non-governmental organizations during her trip to Israel.

Other reports by My Hot News

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