The Latest: UK Cabinet minister quits over Israel meetings
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the scandal over Britain’s international development secretary (all times local):
Britain’s international development secretary has quit over her undisclosed meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.
Priti Patel said in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that her actions “fell below the high standards that are expected of a secretary of state.”
Had she not resigned, Patel would almost certainly have been fired. She cut short an official trip to east Africa after being beckoned home by May on Wednesday and was summoned to the prime minister’s 10 Downing St. office.
Patel has been under pressure since it was revealed 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.
She is the second Cabinet minister in a week to leave May’s government, which is divided over Brexit and facing a spreading scandal over allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in politics.
Britain’s international development secretary has cut short a trip to Africa amid demands she be fired over unauthorized meetings with Israeli politicians.
Britain’s Press Association news agency and other media reported that Priti Patel was on a flight to London Wednesday after Prime Minister Theresa May ordered her to return. She had been due to attend events in Uganda.
Patel has been under pressure since it was revealed that she held 12 meetings with Israeli groups and officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a vacation in the country in August — and that she hadn’t told the prime minister or colleagues about it.
She apologized, but it has since emerged that she also met in September with Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan and a foreign ministry official.