A former Foreign Office official has said Priti Patel’s secret meetings with Israeli ministers was close to the conduct of a spy.

The International Development Secretary, who is widely expected to be sacked today, held 12 unsanctioned meetings – including one with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu – during a “family holiday” to Israel this summer.

She held two more meetings with Israeli ministers in London soon after returning and asked her officials if she could give foreign aid cash to the Israeli army.

Nick Tolhurst, who worked for the Foreign Office between 2001 and 2004, said her actions would have seen any of his former colleagues at the department “instantly sacked”.

Tolhurst added that her behaviour would normally be considered “similarly to spying” and be enough to see her classed as a “foreign asset” by the UK Government.

He insisted the espionage comparison was “no exaggeration” in a Twitter thread laying bare the security risks posed by Patel’s conduct:

With Patel currently flying back to the UK for a meeting with Theresa May, the question is whether she will live to lie another day?

Read more: Patel boasted about crackdown on “wasted” foreign aid – weeks after asking for cash to be spent on Israeli army

  1. One wonders how the Saudi’s and Iranians will take to a ‘rep’ of British Gov cosying up to their most precious enemy? How incredibly inept.

  2. I don’t believe for one moment the foreign office were not aware of these visits. It is the sort of stupid thing Boris Johnson would sanction. Whether they kept it secret from Theresa May who knows. I am sure that will be made clear in time. These visits were pre-arranged, no one just turns up and gets invited to meeting and gets to meet Netanyahu Is Boris acting as unofficial prime minister? Does he think he is some sort of king and we know he loves intrigue. In reality we watch him blagging his way through a job which he is not fit to hold

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