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Priti Patel on the brink, as new meetings with Israeli officials revealed

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PA Wire  PA Images                   Theresa May meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah but was not aware he had met with Priti Patel in August

The UK's worldwide development secretary, Priti Patel, has resigned after it was revealed she held secret meetings with Israeli officials during what she said was a family holiday to Israel.

Ms Patel, a Brexit campaigner who was popular in Ms May's Government, headed back to London yesterday after cancelling a planned trip to Africa to respond to the reports that she failed to declare meetings with Israeli officials in a breach of diplomatic protocol.

Priti Patel has quit her Cabinet role and acknowledged that her "actions fell below the standards of transparency and openness" she had advocated.

The PM said her decision was "right" as "further details have come to light".

Earlier this week, Patel was reprimanded over a series of 12 meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials in August, which was not discussed with the U.K. Foreign Office in advance.

After a hastily arranged meeting not long after Patel landed in London, May's office released her minister's letter of resignation, in which Patel said her conduct in Israel had fallen "below the high standards" required of her post.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ms Patel said: "I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened and offer my resignation".

When were you made aware that Priti Patel had met officials from the British Consulate General Jerusalem during her visit to Israel?

The Jewish Chronicle article also states that the Prime Minister spoke with Ms Patel ahead of the UN General Assembly last month where they spoke of the meeting with Mr Netanyahu, and discussed details to give United Kingdom aid to humanitarian projects run by the Israel.

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The BBC reveals she held a number of meetings at which official departmental business was discussed, including with the leader of one of Israel's main political parties.

The fresh revelations are likely to pile extra pressure on Theresa May to sack the International Development Secretary, who is believed to have also met the Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in Parliament on September 7, and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in NY on September 18. She adds: "I am sorry for this and I apologise for it".

Priti Patel is flying home from a trip to Africa.

In her statement, Patel explained, her quoted remarks may have given the impression that she had informed the foreign secretary about the visit beforehand.

Had she not resigned, Patel would nearly certainly have been fired.

Patel's meetings with Israeli officials, which May's office said they were not aware of, and a reported visit to an Israeli army field hospital in the Golan Heights, have increased the pressure on the prime minister, who depends on a Northern Irish party in parliament to pass legislation.

"The prime minister met the secretary of state this morning to remind her of the obligations which exist under the ministerial code".

But new report claims Downing Street knew about the unauthorised meetings within days and suppressed them to save the embarrassment of the Foreign Office.

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