Priti Patel forced to resign over unofficial meetings with Israelis

Theresa May’s government was rocked on Wednesday by a second cabinet resignation in a week after Priti Patel was forced to step down as international development secretary.

The minister quit after being summoned back from a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia by Downing Street after it emerged she failed to be candid with May about 14 unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers, businesspeople and a senior lobbyist.

The prime minister will now need to carry out another reshuffle that will create disruption and add to the sense of instability across Whitehall and Westminster as her minority government battles to retain control of the political agenda.

May and Patel met for just six minutes in the early evening. In her resignation letter, released moments after she left No 10, Patel admitted her actions “fell below the high standards that are expected of a secretary of state”.

The prime minister said Patel’s decision was the correct one. She argued in a letter to the former cabinet minister that the UK and Israel were close allies and should work closely together. 

“But that must be done formally, and through official channels. That is why, when we met on Monday, I was glad to accept your apology and welcomed your clarification about your trip to Israel over the summer.”

But she added: “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.” FULL STORY