Priti Patel kept Theresa May in dark over Israeli army cash plan

Posted On: 
7th November 2017

International Development Secretary Priti Patel failed to tell Theresa May about her plan to give UK aid money to the Israeli army, it has emerged.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel has come under fire after meeting 12 Israeli officials during a family holiday
Credit: 
PA

In a stunning development, Downing Street admitted the first the Prime Minister knew of the idea was when it was reported by the BBC his morning.

Ms Patel was hauled in to Number 10 yesterday for a dressing down by Mrs May after she admitted meeting 12 Israeli officials - including the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - during a family holiday in August.

Priti Patel suggested sending aid cash to Israeli army after Benjamin Netanyahu meeting

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Priti Patel apologises after holding meetings with senior Israeli figures on family holiday

She later apologised, while also admitting she had been wrong to tell The Guardian last week that the Foreign Office were aware of her planned meetings before she travelled to Israel.

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 UK, and on disability", when she returned to London.

Alistair Burt, a junior minister in the department admitted to MPs today that actually meant providing cash to the Israeli Defence Force for work it does helping Syrian refugees in the Golan Heights.

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

Downing Street confirmed that detail was not discussed when Theresa May held talks with her Cabinet colleague yesterday, and that the Prime Minister only learned when the BBC revealed it this morning.

A source said the pair had only talked about “humanitarian issues” raised at a couple of her meetings in Israel.

Ms Patel is currently travelling to Africa, but Number 10 has previously said they considered the matter closed.

Mrs May has also asked for the ministerial code to be tightened in light of the controversy.

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.