When it was revealed last night that Priti Patel had held two more secret meetings than she had declared, it was reported that the Prime Minister’s patience with the embattled International Development Secretary had run out.
The Government had already been embarrassed by Patel’s admission on Monday that she had held 12 secret meetings with Israeli political and business leaders – including PM Benjamin Netanyahu – during a “family holiday” to Israel.
Now we learned that she had held two further meetings with an Israeli government minister and official in London and New York.
Furious at being deceived twice, Theresa May today summoned her International Development Secretary back from Uganda to sack her.
A line would be drawn under this bizarre scandal.
However, a sensational exclusive story in the Jewish Chronicle has challenged everything we have assumed about this story so far.
The paper’s editor, Stephen Pollard, says two sources have told him that:
- Theresa May has known about Patel’s meeting with Netanyahu since August
- The Prime Minister has discussed with Patel her meeting with Netanyahu
- Patel also told Number 10 about the two additional meetings she held in New York and London
- But she was told not to mention them in her statement on Monday to avoid embarrassing the Foreign Office
If that was the case, then the Government has been misleading the public and surely May would have to go with Patel.
A Downing Street spokesman insists though that the story is not true, insisting May did not know about the meetings before this week and refusing the idea Number 10 told Patel to leave any meetings out of her initial statement.
We doubt that will be the last word on this explosive story…