We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Priti Patel’s position as DFID minister is now untenable 

November 3, 2017 10:16 AM

The BBC report on DFID Minister Priti Patel's undisclosed meetings in Israel without informing the Foreign Office http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41853561 reports that without the knowledge of the British Foreign Office or British diplomats in Israel:

  • She met the leader of one of Israel's main political parties.
  • She made visits to several organisations where official departmental business was reportedly discussed.
  • Shewas accompanied by a powerful pro-Israeli Conservative lobbyist, Lord Polak, honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), an influential lobbying organisation.
  • She was unaccompanied by her office staff.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Witham Jo Hayes said:

"As the Cabinet Minister in charge of Britain's international development budget, and with the task of assisting with the humanitarian needs in one of the world's most controversial conflicts, Priti Patel should have avoided a situation in which her interests and those of the United Kingdom could be perceived to conflict, or to cast any doubt on her own objectivity. It is to protect against that, that Ministers are accompanied by civil servants who take a note of meetings.

But that is exactly what has happened here. Speculation is now reportedly rife among her own colleagues as to whether she was making freelance foreign policy, or promoting herself for a leadership bid. She has compounded what she has done by refusing to answer questions from the BBC about the meetings.

Her position as DFID Secretary of State is now surely untenable."