Theresa May orders Priti Patel to return to UK to explain meetings with Israeli politicians

Theresa May orders Priti Patel to return to UK to explain herself over further meetings with Israeli politicians

The International Development Secretary admitted to further unauthorised meetings on Tuesday

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Theresa May has ordered Priti Patel to return to Britain in the wake of admitting further unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians.

Sources say Patel, who had just begun a three-day visit to Africa, has been summoned by the Prime Minister in order to explain herself.

The International Development Secretary has disclosed a series of meetings with Israeli politicians both in Israel and abroad, including with the country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

She is believed to have met Gilad Erdan – Israel’s public security minister – in Parliament on September 7, followed by Yuval Rotem from the Israeli foreign ministry in New York on September 18.

Downing Street is reported to have been informed of the event in New York, but was previously unaware of the meeting with Erdan.

At these meetings, no other British officials were in attendance, and Patel did not report them to the Government or Foreign Office officials for clearance in the standard way.

Before the admissions of further meetings on Tuesday, Downing Street maintained the Prime Minister had confidence in Patel, after having given her a dressing down over the meetings while she was on holiday in Israel.

The Labour Party has demanded an investigation into the meetings, saying they represented four “serious breaches” of ministerial code.