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Priti Patel held meetings in Israel without telling Foreign Office

Priti Patel held meetings in Israel without telling Foreign Office”

The worldwide development secretary failed to disclose meetings in Israel held while accompanied by an influential Tory lobbyist, it has been claimed.

One minister said: "This is outrageous".

The Secretary of State paid for the August holiday herself.

United Kingdom government sources have attempted to play down the meetings, insisting Ms. Patel had done nothing wrong as it was a private holiday paid for by the minister.

She met Yair Lapid, the leader of the Yesh Atid party and former government finance minister.

She was accompanied by Stuart Polak, who is the honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFOI).

Lapid tweeted a picture with Patel after their meeting in August where he described her as a "true friend of Israel".

She was backed by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who said the pair "work closely together" and that she was "quite right" to have the meetings, despite the BBC reporting that she had broken convention by failing to tell his department, which is in charge of United Kingdom foreign policy.

A Foreign Office source confirmed that the department was not made aware of the meeting.

Patel is a former vice-chairman of the CFI and a longstanding supporter of Israel.

She also met with Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS), a leading Israeli disability charity and campaign group, where she reportedly discussed the possibility of her department forming a long-term partnership with the organization.

Some ministers and MPs accused Patel of trying to win favor with wealthy pro-Israel Conservative donors who could fund a potential leadership campaign. She just can not do this.

He admitted to the BBC that he arranged for Patel to visit Israeli firms and charities creating technologies that could be of interest to the minister's portfolio.

"What does it say to the rest of the Middle East if a senior Cabinet minister in charge of Britain's huge aid budget disappears for 48 hours from a family holiday in Israel and is under the wing of pro-Israeli lobbyist?"

Britain sends $88m every year to support the Occupied Palestinian Territories, according to the BBC.

"The Department for International Development is facing a litany of disasters around the world in which United Kingdom aid will play a key role in recovery and rebuilding".

Patel has been a critic of DFID's funding policies, and tightened the guidelines on Palestinian spending past year.

Dfid has declined to comment.



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