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Tuesday 7 November 2017

Priti Patel - Worse Than Feared

When Zelo Street noted reports that international development secretary Priti Patel “held undisclosed meetings in Israel without telling the Foreign Office while accompanied by an influential pro-Israeli Conservative lobbyist” and that she “met the leader of one of Israel's main political parties and made visits to several organisations where official departmental business was reportedly discussed”, it looked bad. Very bad.
There was more: “British diplomats in Israel were not informed about Ms Patel's plans … Ministers are by convention supposed to tell the Foreign Office when they are conducting official business overseas … the meetings could have broken the ministerial code of conduct”. The word “could” was superfluous: Ms Patel’s meetings were not only more extensive than feared, she did break that code of conduct. Seriously.

Now has come a “clarification” from Ms Patel, from which we can see that she was blatantly and shamelessly conducting her own off-the-cuff foreign policy, not telling the Foreign Office, or even her boss, London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who has his own problems right now.
As the BBC’s Nick Robinson put it, “That’s some clarification from Priti Patel. When said Boris knew about freelance trip to meet Israeli PM she meant Boris did not know”. In other words, she has taken on board Bozza’s signature response to problematic questions, otherwise known as lying. And it gets worse. A lot worse.

Even the Beeb’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg called Ms Patel’s press release “clarifying” what she had been up to in Israel last August a “classic”. And I suspect this was not meant as some kind of praise. Ian Birrell added the ominous “It gets worse: Priti Patel suggested British aid should be given to the Israeli army in the Occupied Territories”. And what will Theresa May do about this latest horrendous lapse from her ministers?
As if you need to ask. “Theresa May wants the ministerial code of conduct to be tightened - after it was revealed Priti Patel held secret meetings with Israeli officials … She was ‘reminded of her obligations’ as a cabinet minister, Mrs May said”. Yeah, right. Two things here: one, the code of conduct does not need “tightening”, just applying properly. And two, it’s clear Ms Patel got away with not even a slap on the wrist. That’s not good enough.

After all, “The international development secretary apologised for holding 12 meetings, including one with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, while on a private holiday … No diplomats were present at the meetings, at which the minister was accompanied by an influential pro-Israeli Conservative peer and lobbyist, Lord Polak”.
Even the most diplomatic comments showed Ms Patel got it badly wrong: “Lord Ricketts, former head of the Diplomatic Service, said her actions were unprecedented”. And the idea she had a holiday in Israel in August, when the temperature climbs into the 40s, is not merely eyebrow-raising - it’s well on implausible.

Yet Priti Patel is still in post. And no-one is surprised. What a total and absolute shower.


Arnold said...

One business meeting on holiday. Just possible. But twelve? No way.

Anonymous said...

So Patel held "12 meetings" did she?


If true, (a) Who attended, (b) What was said, and (c) Who put the agenda together and why?

Nor does the Israeli Army need "aid" from its Brit equivalent to commit the war crimes inflicted on the Palestinian people. Or to illegally occupy Palestinian lands. Might need "secret" funding, though.

And despite the usual slimey denials does anybody REALLY believe she did this all off her own bat?

This latest tory soap opera episode has the look and sound of somebody being trained for further activities. Only to score a comical own goal from the half way line.

Patel has all the trustworthiness of an MI5/MI6 shill. One look at that rictus-grinning kipper - the female equivalent of Jeremy Hunt - should tell alert citizens all they need to know.

Anonymous said...

This appears to have gone in exactly the way she planned it. She also remembered to always have the excuse ready before committing the 'crime'.

No way she could have done this with approval of Government. So she booked a 'holiday', paid for it herself and then arranged the meetings. Once found out the line is 'it was a holiday, I paid for it myself'.

And unlike Scooby Doo, despite those pesky kids she did actually get away with it (for now)!

"It is easier to seek forgiveness than it is to get permission."

Roy said...

I think what this shows, Tim, is that Theresa May has, in soccer parlance, "Lost the dressing room." She hs not the slightest semblance of authority and her minsters are just doing what they damn well please.

She should have a long knife night and sack a few but she's got no reliable replacements. She is "in office, but not in power"

This won't end well.

Ferdy Fox said...

Just like the rest of this shower - no idea of what they are doing (other than feathering their own nest) but determined to do it anyway and then lie about it after they're found out.

Good job they don't have a real job to do.

Arnold said...

"No diplomats were present at the meetings, at which the minister was accompanied by an influential pro-Israeli Conservative peer and lobbyist, Lord Polak”.
Was he on holiday too?

Anonymous said...

Was it Conservative Friends of Israel paid for May's visit to Israel? Look at all the Tories who are taken for tours. If May can get a smear in about Labour and so called 'anti semitism' she will. So, why are all these Tories keen to suck up to Israel, hmmm? If anyone suggested they were looking for wealthy Tory donors from the Jewish community, that would be deemed anti semitic no doubt. So I won't do that.

Much of this in her speech to @CFoI is sheer propaganda. Perhaps May (not the brightest bulb on the tree) fell for it, she is certainly guilty of disseminating it. Yes nods to 'two state solution' etc but she didn't really mean it, did she?