The incredible story about Priti Patel’s unconventional “family holiday” to Israel has taken a worrying new twist today.
We learned yesterday that the International Development Secretary held 13 secret meetings with political, civil and business leaders during a two week trip to Israel this summer.
They included meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Secretary Yuval Rotem and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Now the BBC has revealed that, on returning to her trip from Israel, Patel asked UK Government officials whether she could use foreign aid cash to fund Israeli army activities in the occupied Golan Heights, an area annexed from Syria in 1967:
Yet, just weeks later, she used her speech to Tory party conference to boast of her “ruthless” crackdown on “wasted aid”. She said:
“The public are right to be angry when they hear stories about wasted aid. They naturally think that their Government is throwing away their hard-earned cash. That is why under my leadership, my priority is to make sure that aid delivers value for money.
My Ministers have scrutinised every aspect of DFID’s spending. I have removed programmes which did not stand up to scrutiny. Where partnerships weren’t working, I have ended them.
Where legitimate concerns have been raised over poor spending, I have taken action. And where other Government Departments need to improve their aid spending, I am challenging them to raise their game and be accountable to UK taxpayers.
I am delivering close to £500 million pounds of savings. And I have been ruthless in closing programmes that did not meet the standards I have set.”
You can watch the relevant part of the speech below:
That level of hypocrisy takes some chutzpah…