British Cabinet member resigns following secret Israel trips

Britain's secretary of state for international development, Priti Patel, was forced to resign Wednesday after holding undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials in August. Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Nov. 9 (UPI) — Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel was forced to resign after holding undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials.

Prime Minister Theresa May summoned Patel back from a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia on Wednesday after it was revealed she held about 14 unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers, businesspeople and a senior lobbyist.

“While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated,” Patel wrote in her resignation letter. “I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the government for what has happened and offer my resignation.”

Patel conducted the meetings during a family vacation in August, which she paid for herself.

During the trip she met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuval Rotem, a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official and several others.

Patel initially said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was aware of the trip, but later clarified he wasn’t notified in advance and learned of the trip while she was in Israel.

May said Britain and Israel are close allies and should work closely, but visits should be conducted “formally” through official channels.

“Now that further details have come to light, it is right that you have decided to resign and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated,” May said in a letter to Patel.

Last week, May’s defense secretary, Michael Fallon, resigned amid accusations of unwanted sexual advances toward women.


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