“Compromised,” “deceitful,” “morally corrupt,” “contemptible” and “quite despicable” are the ways Priti Patel has been characterised – by her Tory colleague Alan Duncan in his new book.
Duncan takes Patel to task in the pages of In The Thick Of It, over her relationship with Israel – and her attempts to hide her ties to that country.
The former Foreign Office minister has suffered a radically different relationship with representatives of that country, as This Site (and TV news channel Al Jazeera) has recorded in the past.
He was targeted for removal from his post in a conspiracy run by former Israel Embassy official Shai Masot that was filmed by the Middle East news channel and broadcast in a series called The Lobby. Masot was later ordered to return to Israel in disgrace.
Indeed, it seems the Conservative Friends of Israel had tried to block his appointment to the Foreign Office post. How much influence did the Israeli government have in that?
Patel was subsequently involved in a scandal when she visited Israel under the pretence of taking a holiday there, when in fact she was trying to carry out her own foreign policy, independent of that of the government (run by Theresa May at the time).
She did not declare the meetings she held there in advance, so the discussions were not recorded, meaning we do not know whether she made any promises to a foreign government or what such promises could be.
Questioned, Patel tried to claim she had informed the Foreign Office about the meetings – by telling the then-Foreign Secretary. That would be Boris Johnson.
And she said there were only “a couple” of meetings.
Duncan wrote: “It is now clear that she lied. She had not told Boris, and in fact had a whole series of meetings.” They included one with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.
He also wrote that she “spent a week there … without telling the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] or even her own department.”
As part of the meetings in Israel, Patel discussed handing UK aid money to the Israeli army to support operations in the Golan Heights – a part of Syria that has been occupied by Israel since 1967.
Or, as Duncan wrote, she “engaged offline with a foreign government over issues of policy. It is contemptible. She is quite despicable.”
When the scandal broke, Duncan wrote, Patel was “such a brassy monster” that she threatened to publicly challenge the prime minister’s version of events if she was not allowed to resign, rather than be sacked.
“It reeks; it stinks; it festers; it molders – all rotten to the core,” he wrote, calling it “exceptional pro-Israel infiltration into the very center of our public life” and “wickedness.”
And the woman of whom he wrote all of this is currently Home Secretary. Who knows what discussions she’s having now – and with whom?
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