U.K. international development secretary Priti Patel has resigned after it was revealed she held secret meetings with the Israeli government officials.
Patel failed to disclose to Prime Minister Theresa May or the U.K. Foreign Office that she would be having 12 meetings with officials including one with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a 13-day holiday in Israel in August.
“I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened and offer my resignation,” Patel said in a letter.
“My actions fell below the standard of transparency and openness I had promoted and advocated.
It emerged on Tuesday she had suggested giving British aid money to an Israeli army project and that she had held further unauthorised meetings.
It also emerged that Patel met Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in the British Parliament on September 7, and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York on September 18.
However, The Jewish Chronicle reported earlier this week that two different sources confirmed to the newspaper that Patel had disclosed the meetings but was told not to declare them as they would embarrass the Foreign Office.
The newspaper also reported that although Patel’s meeting with Netanyahu was not authorised in advance, the U.K. Government was made aware of it within hours.
May responded saying Patel resignation the right outcome.
“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.”
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson said in a statement the actions were a serious error.
“This was an appalling error of judgement and is nothing short of a major failure by the British government,” she said.
“Number 10 must answer question about their complicity in this scandal. Someone has been deceived, either the British people or the Prime Minister’s office.”
“Whichever it is someone must be held to account.”