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Patel returns to London after more undisclosed Israeli meetings come to light

The international secretary Priti Patel has cut short her trip to Africa after it emerged last night..

By admin , in Money , at November 8, 2017

The international secretary Priti Patel has cut short her trip to Africa after it emerged last night she had attended yet more undisclosed meetings with senior Israeli officials.

The minister, who is now flying back to London from her "pre-arranged" trip, held an unsanctioned meeting in London with Israel's public security minister Gilad Erdan on 7 September, and one in New York with a foreign office official Yuval Rotem on 18 September.

Erdan even tweeted about the meeting – but Patel did not.

בין הפגישות היום פגשתי בפרלמנט שליד התמזה את השרה לפיתוח בינ״ל פריטי פאטל. מנהיגה אמיצה וכנה שתומכת בישראל מכל הלב. דנו בשת״פ בין משרדינו

— גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) September 7, 2017

Those two take the total number of undisclosed meetings with Israeli figures to 14, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who Theresa May held a bilateral with last month before knowing about Patel's own meetings.

Yesterday, Patel's colleague Alistair Burt told MPs that she had informed the foreign office on 24 August – after most of the meetings had taken place. It was also confirmed that she had suggested aid be given to the Israeli Defence Force in the Golan Heights, to help with its humanitarian efforts in working with Syrian refugees.

But a vulnerable May, who is desperate to keep control of her fragile leadership atop a Cabinet split on Brexit, had hoped that a telling-off would suffice until last night's revelations. Instead, this morning, it is looking increasingly likely she will have to sack the rogue minister.

It follows defence secretary Michael Fallon's resignation last week in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct.

And it might not stop there. Calls are growing for foreign secretary Boris Johnson to step down after his comments on British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who he described as "simply teaching journalism" – a crime in Iran and something strongly denied by both her husband and employer.

Meanwhile an investigation is ongoing into allegations that Damian Green, the Prime Minister's closest ally, had "extreme porn" on computers found in his office during a police raid several years ago. May's number two denies the allegations.

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