LONDON (AP) — In a new blow to Britain’s beleaguered government, the U.K. international development secretary quit Wednesday over unauthorized meetings with Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Priti Patel resigned after being ordered back from a trip to east Africa and summoned to 10 Downing St. by Prime Minister Theresa May. If she had not quit, she would almost certainly have been fired. Patel is the second Cabinet departure in a week for a government facing crisis on several fronts, including divisions over Brexit and growing allegations of sexual misbehavior in politics.
Patel has been under pressure since it was revealed last week that she held 12 meetings with Israeli groups and officials, including Netanyahu, during a vacation in Israel in August — and that she hadn’t told May or colleagues about it.
Patel apologized, but when details of two further meetings emerged, May acted. In her resignation letter, Patel said her conduct “fell below the high standards that are expected of a secretary of state.”
May replied that it was right Patel had decided to quit “and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated.” Patel said earlier that her meetings in Israel — arranged by Stuart Polak, honorary president of the group Conservative Friends of Israel — stemmed from her “enthusiasm to engage.” But critics accused her of breaching ministers’ code of conduct and making a major diplomatic gaffe in a region of high political sensitivity.
H/t reader squodgy:
“Surprise surprise. Can’t believe how corrupt UK Gov is.
She had to resign, not because she would have been fired, but because of the stink if she had been fired, which would have exposed the disproportionate influence of yids in Government.”
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