Labour calls for probe into Priti Patel meetings in Israel

Priti Patel: Israel and Britain can extend and improve their partnership

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.

Patel said the meetings were arranged by Lord Stuart Polak, of the Conservative Friends of Israel, who accompanied her in most of the meetings.

"Patel didn't think it was worth telling Theresa May that she had met with a foreign leader on Friday morning - more than two months after she had returned to the United Kingdom", stated PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield. Patel said: "This summer I travelled to Israel, on a family holiday paid for myself".

The statement added that the Foreign Office was aware of the visit while it was underway, but was not informed about it in advance.

"In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be misread, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures".

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. I am sorry for this and I apologise for it.

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On returning from her trip, Patel commissioned Dfid work on disability and humanitarian and development partnerships between Israel and the UK.

Number 10 was also unable to confirm whether there were any other policy discussions held between Ms Patel and the Israeli Government during her visit.

Liberal Democrat global development secretary Baroness Sheehan said Ms Patel had "gone rogue" and should be sacked. The Telegraph also reported that Patel had suggested to Netanyahu that the United Kingdom should give aid to the Israeli army.

"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". "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 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.

He alleged Ms Patel broke four grounds of the code - openness, collective responsibility, honesty and performing only those duties allocated to them by the PM.

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