Priti Patel, what exactly happened with her controversial resignation

Priti Patel had resigned from International Developments Secretary post soon after she returned to London cutting short her trip to Africa on Wednesday evening.

Her resignation has been controversial after reports emerged of her secret meetings with Israeli leaders on a family holiday in August.

It was reported that she had these meetings in Israel without Westminster’s notice where she proposed some of Britain’s aid budget to go to the Israeli army.

Theresa May visits the US
Theresa May accepted Priti Patel’s resignation on Wednesday. Photo: Sky News

Patel issued an apology on Monday for having undisclosed meetings with top Israeli officials and revealed the list of the people she met that included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A brief background on Priti Patel

Patel, 45 was born in Harrow, Greater London to Ugandan parents of Gujarati descent and is an MP for Witham in Essex.

Having joined the Conservative Party when John Major was prime minister, she had emerged as the Tories’ long seen rising star after being elected as first ever British-Indian woman MP in 2010.

An avid Brexiteer, Patel is on the right of the Tories; she opposed gay marriage, campaigned against smoking ban is and a long standing supporter of Israel.

She was named the international developments secretary in July 2016 in Theresa May’s new government post EU referendum.

Controversial meetings in Israel

Last week BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent James Landale broke the news that Patel had meetings with Israeli officials without letting the Foreign Office know.

By doing so she broke the ministerial code and oppositions Labour called for an investigation into her actions.

Soon after the report came out, Patel told The Guardian that allegations were not entirely true and that Foreign secretary Boris Johnson knew of the meetings.

“Boris knew about the visit. The point is that the Foreign Office did know about this, Boris knew about [the trip]. It is not on, it is not on at all.

I went out there, I paid for it. And there is nothing else to this. It is quite extraordinary. It is for the Foreign Office to go away and explain themselves,” she told The Guardian.

Patel
Priti Patel (second left) told The Guardian that Foreign secretary Boris Johnson (second right) was aware of the meetings. Photo: LBC

She was accompanied by Lord Polak, honorary President of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and met Yair Lapid, leader of Israel’s centrist Yesh Atid party.

Resignation

Patel was called back to London amid her trip to Africa and it was reported that Theresa May, who met Netanyahu on November 2 was not aware of the meetings until the BBC had disclosed the details.

Stephen pollard of Jewish Chronicle later reported otherwise claiming that 10 Downing Street was aware of the meetings.

A spokesperson for Number 10 said: “The Prime Minister welcomes the Secretary of State’s clarification about her trip to Israel and has accepted her apology for her handling of the matter.”

The prime minister had asked Patel to resign on Wednesday evening and May respected her decision to do so.

“I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the government for what has happened and offer my resignation,” Patel said in her resignation.

What happened next?

Patel was a second person who left a role at the cabinet after Sir Michael Fallon resigned last week as defence secretary after accusations of sexual harassment against him.

In a job of cabinet reshuffle, May appointed junior works and pensions minister Penny Mordaunt as the new International Developments Secretary on Thursday afternoon.

Questions were raised on May’s hold on her ministers and Patel’s acts only seemed to make it worse as many called the prime minister to be a ‘weak’ leader.

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