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British minister apologizes for not disclosing meetings with officials in Israel
08 November 2017, 12:15 | Bernice Figueroa
UK minister Patel suspends foreign trip
Ms Patel apologised on Monday for 12 unauthorised meetings with senior Tel Aviv officials in August - including Mr Netanyahu, his Public Security minister, and chief diplomat - behind Mrs May's back.
They also discussed the Israeli domestic political scene, India, Netanyahu's then-forthcoming visit to London to mark the centenary last week of the Balfour declaration, and "prospects for closer collaboration between Israel and the United Kingdom on development and humanitarian issues".
Worldwide development secretary Priti Patel has admitted foreign secretary Boris Johnson did not know about her trip to Israel until she was there - and revealed a slew of meetings not previously disclosed.
Patel apologized for failing to comply with the usual procedures that oblige ministers to inform the British Foreign Office before doing official business overseas and said she regretted her statement that Foreign Minister Boris Johnson was aware of the visit in advance. The Telegraph also reported that Patel had suggested to Netanyahu that the United Kingdom should give aid to the Israeli army.
Theresa May met Patel yesterday to "remind her of the obligations which exist under the ministerial code", but accepted the minister's apology for holding meetings in a way that "did not accord with the usual procedures", says the Telegraph.
The recent behaviour of Priti Patel has left lobby journlaists wondering exactly what cabinet ministers need to do to get sacked these days.
"I don't know what was in her mind when she said that".
"It appears to me to a be a gross breach of the exiting code of ministerial conduct".
Labour had attempted to force Patel to the Commons to face questions from MPs on her conduct. "It seems likely that the meetings took place beforehand", he said.
In a clarification, on Monday she said that "this was not the case" and that he "did become aware of the visit, but not in advance of it".
One close ally of the PM told The Sun: "Priti wants to be leader, she's made that very clear to all of us".
On returning from her trip, Patel commissioned Dfid work on disability and humanitarian and development partnerships between Israel and the UK.
Patel's spokesman said that she "regrets the lack of precision in the wording she used".
Burt said if he had met with Israeli officials "I would have told the ambassador of course".
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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