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  1. ITV Report

Priti Patel apologises for meetings held with Israeli politicians on a 'family holiday'

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Romilly Weeks

Priti Patel has apologised for taking time out of a family holiday to meet the Israeli prime minister and other officials without telling the Foreign Office.

The International Development Secretary was accompanied to nearly all of her meetings by honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobbying group, Lord Polak.

She met Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli ministers, charities and non-governmental organisations and other politicians during her summer trip.

Ms Patel admitted that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson did not know about the trip in advance. She had previously said he "knew about the visit".

In a statement, the minister went on to apologise for setting up and reporting the meetings "in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: PA

Ms Patel said: "This summer I travelled to Israel, on a family holiday paid for myself.

"While away, I had the opportunity to meet a number of people and organisations. I am publishing a list of who I met. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of my visit while it was under way.

"In hindsight, I can see how my enthusiasm to engage in this way could be misread, and how meetings were set up and reported in a way which did not accord with the usual procedures. I am sorry for this and I apologise for it.

"My first and only aim as the Secretary of State for International Development is to put the interests of British taxpayers and the world's poor at the front of our development work."