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Labour calls for probe into Priti Patel meetings in Israel

Labour calls for probe into Priti Patel meetings in Israel”

The minister, who has been under fire for not disclosing the trip earlier this summer, said the visit was a "family holiday, paid for myself" and the meetings - with a range of politicians, businesses, tech startups and NGOs - were arranged while away.

British secretary of state for worldwide development Priti Patel has apologised for holding several secret meetings with Israeli officials during a family holiday in August, in which she discussed a number of issues, including India. The secretary of state would like to take this opportunity to clarify that this was not the case.

Priti Patel discussed giving United Kingdom aid money to humanitarian projects in a disputed region of Israel, Number 10 has admitted.

The only assurance the Development Secretary was able to give No10 was that she hadn't "organised meetings with foreign Governments outside of the normal channels while on holiday".

However, ministers are by convention supposed to tell the Foreign Office when they are conducting official business overseas.

The statement said that Patel and Netanyahu had held an "introductory meeting" in which they had discussed Patel's family background as the daughter of Ugandan Indian migrants growing up in an area of the United Kingdom with a "thriving Jewish community". The situation is made worse by the fact that rather than informing Downing Street of her trip, both Patel and Johnson kept it entirely secret until it was unearthed by the media last week.

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

While Patel has apologised for misleading the public, critics have accused the minister of lying especially as she had kept details about her meeting secret for so long.

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.

"It appears to me to a be a gross breach of the exiting code of ministerial conduct".

"There hasn't been any change in policy resulting from that". Prime Minister Theresa May said she had spoken to Patel, who had been "reminded of her obligations" as a cabinet minister.

Kate Ozmour, spokeswoman for the worldwide development of the opposition Labor Party, said Pattel should resign or undergo an investigation for violating the ministerial protocol.

She was accompanied by Lord Polak, honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), an influential lobbying organisation, during the visit in August.

"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".



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