UK MP apologises for lying about undisclosed meetings in Israel

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Other political parties are also under scrutiny.

Britain's Minister for International Development, Bertie Patel, apologized on Monday for not disclosing meetings with senior Israeli officials during a private holiday.

Kate Osamor, the shadow global development secretary, told the Commons on Tuesday that it was "hard to think of a more black and white case of breaking the ministerial code of conduct".

"Patel has a history of showing favouritism to Israel and is suspected to cut or divert the essential aid that the United Kingdom sends to the Palestine Authority", Slaughter told MEE. Clarifying her comments to the Guardian she said: "This quote may have given the impression that the Secretary of State had informed the Foreign Secretary about the visit in advance".

Lord Ricketts, former head of the Diplomatic Service, told BBC Radio 4's World Tonight programme: "I can't think of a precedent where a senior minister visits a country, has an extensive programme like this without the Foreign Office, the foreign secretary or even the ambassador in the country knowing about it".

Yesterday, Patel was forced to make a U-turn, while coming clean about her secret trip to Israel.

While Patel's secret meeting with the Israeli's is seen by many as a clear breach of the ministerial code of conduct, some have pointed to the paralysis within May's government in punishing this kind of rogue behaviour, especially when it comes to UK's relations with Israel.

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"The Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Office to look at how the code can be made clearer and tightened", a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson highlighted that the United Kingdom provides no financial support to Israeli forces and that there would be no change in policy, reported The Guardian.

"The Secretary of State did discuss potential ways to provide medical support for Syrian refugees who are wounded who cross into the Golan for aid", the Prime Minister's official spokesman admitted.

"There hasn't been any change in policy resulting from that".

However, it emerged today that May has called for a review of the ministerial code of conduct to prevent a similar situation arising in future.

Patel's meetings in Israel between August 13 and 25 were arranged by the honorary president of the lobbying group Conservative Friends of Israel, Lord Polak, who also attended all but one. While away, I had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organizations.

Labour's shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett said there had been a "clear breach" of the ministerial code, while shadow global development secretary Kate Osamor called for an investigation, describing Patel's apology as "a desperate last-ditch attempt.to save her job".

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