United Kingdom minister apologizes for unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials

United Kingdom minister apologizes for unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials

United Kingdom minister apologizes for unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials

During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she discussed her family background that included her parents fleeing Uganda in the 1970s and settling in Britain.

The meetings amounted to a breach of the ministerial code, since the Foreign Office was not informed of them in advance.

"The Secretary of State did discuss potential ways to provide medical support for Syrian refugees who are wounded who cross into the Golan for aid", the Prime Minister's official spokesman admitted.

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 said she "regrets the lack of precision in the wording she used in these statements and is taking the opportunity to clarify the position".

The International Development Secretary was accompanied to almost all of her meetings by honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobbying group, Lord Polak. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of my visit while it was under way.

A statement issued by the Department for International Trade yesterday stated that Ms Patel had asked her officials to "commission work on humanitarian and development partnership between Israel and the United Kingdom, and on disability", when she returned to London.

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.

On Monday, Ms Patel issued a statement to say her Tel Aviv meetings were to discuss "prospects for closer collaboration between Israel and the United Kingdom on development and humanitarian issues".

She also held several meetings with representatives of charities and NGOs involved in aid and humanitarian work.

In a further blow for Ms Patel, PoliticsHome has also learned that Labour MPs have tabled 40 written questions on the affair which must be answered by the Government next Monday.

However, Ms Patel was told that would be impossible as the United Kingdom does not recognise Israel's annexation of the disputed territory.

Patel has faced criticism and calls for her to resign or be sacked over the meetings.

On Tuesday No.10 confirmed Patel had suggested the United Kingdom send aid money to the Israeli army in the Golan Heights.

Labour's spokeswoman for global development, Kate Osamor, said that Ms. Patel should resign or face an investigation by the Cabinet Office for breach of the ministerial code.

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