Minister Patel was scolded by bosses for having unscheduled, unofficial high level meetings in Jerusalem, after she was ‘outed’ by photo, tweeted from Israel.
– Patel said that she was, “struck by the achievements of the State of Israel…a world leader in technology, life and vocational skills.”
A British minister was forced to publicly apologize on Monday after it emerged the country’s foreign ministry was not aware of a host of high-level meetings she took during a “family holiday” in Israel over the summer, including with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Great to meet with Priti Patel, UK Secretary of State for International Development, today. A true friend of Israel. pic.twitter.com/8q9qSeX7YZ
— יאיר לפיד (@yairlapid) August 24, 2017
Priti Patel, UK Secretary for International Development, told the Guardian newspaper last week that the UK Foreign Office and its Secretary, Boris Johnson, were aware the meetings, which included several senior officials and charities.
However this was disputed and on Monday Patel released a statement conceding that “in hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be mis-read, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures. I am sorry for this and I apologize for it.”
Prime Minister Theresa May met with Patel on Monday to “remind her” of obligations under the ministerial code of conduct, a Downing St spokesman was reported as saying by British media. On Friday May herself met with Netanyahu during his visit to London.
In Patel’s statement, disclosed that “on a family holiday paid for herself,” she met with Netanyahu, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, foreign ministry chief Yuval Rotem and centrist politician Yair Lapid in addition to charities such as Save a Child’s Heart, Wheelchairs of Hope and emergency humanitarian aid group IsraAID.
The Telegraph reported that the Lapid meeting was revealed after he tweeted a photo of it, describing the secretary of state as a “true friend.”
She was reportedly accompanied by Lord Polak, honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), one of the UK’s chief pro-Israel lobbies.
Unnamed senior Conservative party members told the Telegraph that the ambitious Patel — seen by many as a contender for prime minister – should be “toast”.
In an address last week to a joint Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) and Jewish News conference during the Balfour commemorations, Patel said that she was, “struck by the achievements of the state of Israel” describing it as, “a country that started with nothing and is now a world leader in technology, life and vocational skills.”
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