Priti Patel discussed giving United Kingdom aid to Israel, Downing Street admits


Kate Ozmour, spokeswoman for the worldwide development of the opposition Labor Party, said Pattel should resign or undergo an investigation for violating the ministerial protocol.

DOWNING Street demanded Priti Patel come clean about any more secret meetings with foreign politicians, as her Cabinet career hung by a thread.

Tory ministers said that Patel should be "toast" after the International Development Secretary issued an apology for failing to disclose that she held 12 meetings in 12 days in August without informing the Foreign Office.

The only assurance the Development Secretary was able to give No10 was that she hadn't "organised meetings with foreign Governments outside of the normal channels while on holiday".

Ms Patel, MP for Witham in Essex, said she was proud of the role which Britain had played in "helping to make a homeland for the Jewish people" and said that the Balfour centenary should be celebrated with pride.

Kate Osamor, the shadow worldwide development secretary, told the Commons on Tuesday that it was "hard to think of a more black and white case of breaking the ministerial code of conduct".

In her clarification, Patel was forced to admit that she did not just meet with "people and organisations".

That she didn't report the meetings - which took place over two days - has sparked fears that Patel used her "holiday", in August, as a cover to surreptitiously discuss official United Kingdom government business with Israeli politicians and representatives of Israeli organisations.

Ms Patel apologised for arranging and reporting the meetings "in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures". The Foreign Office, it said, was "clear that United Kingdom interests were not damaged or affected by the meetings on this visit". "I am sorry for this and I apologize for it". The BBC says that following the trip, Patel suggested that some of Britain's aid budget go to the Israeli army.

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.

Downing Street officials are already furious with Ms Patel, who has also admitted misleading journalists about the Israel trip.

"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". She had implied the Foreign Office knew about them while they were taking place.

Downing Street said the premier had accepted her apology and considered the matter closed.

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