- REUTERS/Toby Melville
- Downing Street in crisis following claims that they deliberately concealed existence of secret meetings between the International Development Secretary and the Israeli government. Theresa May’s spokespeople deny the allegations and insist that the first the Prime Minister knew about the meetings was last Friday. But new report claims Downing Street knew about the unauthorised meetings within days and suppressed them to save the embarrassment of the Foreign Office. Priti Patel is currently en route to London where she had been expected to face the sack.
LONDON – Theresa May faces allegations of a cover-up after reports that Downing Street deliberately suppressed and made false claims about its knowledge of Priti Patel’s secret meetings with senior Israeli figures.
Downing Street denies this and insists that the first the prime minister knew about the International Development Secretary’s meetings was last Friday.
The International Development Secretary is currently on a plane back to the UK from Africa with the widespread expectation that she faces the sack over unauthorised meetings with the Israeli Prime Minister and other senior Israeli figures.
However, a new report by the Jewish Chronicle claims that Downing Street was, in fact, aware of Patel’s meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu within days of it taking place.
The full extent of the meetings was allegdly suppressed by Number 10 in order to save the embarrassment of the Foreign Office, the Chronicle claims.
The paper reports that Patel told May about her meeting with Netanyahu, as well as the details of her plan for UK aid to be shared with the Israelis. It claims that the plan, although approved by May, was blocked by the Foreign Office.
In response to the story, a spokesperson for May said:
“It’s not true that the prime minister knew about Priti’s meeting with Netanyahu before Friday,” adding that: “It’s also untrue that Number 10 asked DfiD to remove any meetings from the list that was published.”
However, according to the Jewish Chronicle’s editor Stephen Pollard:
“Far from being unaware, Number 10 knew in full about her meeting with Mr Netanyahu, because Ms Patel had discussed it with the Prime Minister in September, prior to the UN General Assembly.
“I then discovered this morning that Number 10 had been told by Ms Patel about her meeting with Israeli foreign office official Yuval Rotem in New York and had specifically asked her not to include it.
“It is a truism that with most scandals, the real fallout comes from the cover up. My revelations today mean that there are some serious questions for Number 10 to answer about who knew what, when – including the PM.”