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Priti Patel: How the scandal around Israeli meetings unfolded

Priti Patel has quit the Cabinet over her secret meetings with senior Israeli figures. Credit: PA

Priti Patel has quit the Cabinet over her secret meetings with senior Israeli figures and acknowledged that her actions "fell below the high standards" expected.

Having apologised to Theresa May on Monday for failing to disclose a series of 12 meetings with senior Israeli figures during a family holiday in the country in August, it has since emerged that she held two additional meetings, one in the UK and one in the US, following her return from Israel.

Here is how the saga has unfolded.

  • August 13 to 25

International Development Secretary Priti Patel visits Israel for a family holiday.

During the trip, she held 12 undisclosed meetings with political figures, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ms Patel was accompanied at all the meetings bar one by honorary president of the Conservative Friends for Israel lobbying group, Lord Polak.

Among those she met was opposition leader Yair Lapid, who tweeted a picture of the meeting on August 24.

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She did not report the meetings to the Foreign Office or Government in the usual way.

Ms Patel discussed the possibility of UK aid being used to support medical assistance for refugees from the Syrian civil war arriving in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

On returning from her trip, Ms Patel commissioned Department for International Development work on disability, humanitarian and development partnerships between Israel and the UK.

  • September 7

Ms Patel met Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in Parliament.

He later tweeted about the meeting.

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The meeting had been declined on her behalf by her department officials, but was then arranged by her constituency office.

None of Ms Patel's officials attended the meeting, which was not minuted or recorded. The only other Briton present was Lord Polak.

  • September 18

Ms Patel meets foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York.

Lord Polak attends but no other British officials were present at this meeting and like her meetings in Israel, she did not report it to the Foreign Office or Government in the usual way.

  • November 3

Reports emerge that Ms Patel had held talks in Israel with “the leader of one of Israel’s main political parties and made visits to several organisations” in August.

This is reportedly the first time Prime Minister Theresa May learns of the meetings, although the Jewish Chronicle reported that the British government was made aware of Ms Patel's meeting with Mr Netanyahu "within hours". Downing Street has denied this was the case.

Ms Patel is quoted in the Guardian saying: “Boris [Johnson] knew about the visit. The point is that the Foreign Office did know about this, Boris knew about [the trip].”

Labour calls for an investigation into what has happened.

  • November 6
Ms Patel apologised to Theresa May on Monday. Credit: PA

Ms Patel apologises to the prime minister for not informing her about the meetings.

Mrs May reminds the minister of obligations under the ministerial code.

Ms Patel is believed to have told Downing Street about the September 18 New York breakfast with Mr Rotem when revealing the details of her trip to Israel, but not about her September 7 meeting with Mr Erdan.

Ms Patel publishes a statement detailing her meetings in August, but makes no mention of her two September meetings.

In her statement, the minister also issued an extraordinary clarification of the comments she made to the Guardian on November 3.

In her November 3 comments, she said the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Foreign Office "knew about the visit".

The clarification said that the quote "may have given the impression that the Secretary of State had informed the Foreign Secretary about the visit in advance". Ms Patel wanted to clarify that "this was not the case".

"The Foreign Secretary did become aware of the visit, but not in advance of it," the clarification said.

Ms Patel issued this clarification on her comments to the Guardian. Credit: gov.uk

She had also told the Guardian on November 3: “The stuff that is out there is it, as far as I am concerned. I went on holiday and met with people and organisations. As far as I am concerned, the Foreign Office have known about this. It is not about who else I met, I have friends out there.”

A clarification issued through the Department for International Development said: "This quote may be read as implying that the Secretary of State was saying that the meetings that had so far been publicly reported were the only ones which took place on her visit. The Secretary of State would like to take the opportunity to correct this impression: she is clear that other meetings also took place on her visit, in addition to those which had been publicly reported at the time of her making these statements."

The statement added: "The Secretary of State regrets the lack of precision in the wording she used in these statements, and is taking this opportunity to clarify the position."

  • November 7

Labour poses an urgent question in the Commons over Ms Patel's meetings in Israel, but she is unable to attend because she was "in the air" on her way to Africa for a three-day visit.

Middle East minister Alistair Burt is left to answer questions, telling MPs that Foreign Office officials in Israel had only become aware of her visit on August 24, after she was already in the country.

Mr Burt says Ms Patel would not face further action over her trip as the prime minister "regards the matter as closed".

Downing Street insists Mrs May continues to have confidence in Ms Patel.

Late in the evening, details emerge of the previously undisclosed meetings with Mr Erdan and Mr Rotem in September.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston reports that Ms Patel is on the verge of being sacked.

  • November 8

Ms Patel is ordered back to Britain from Africa following the disclosure of the September meetings.

The International Development Secretary was summoned by Mrs May to Downing Street to explain herself.

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper reports that during her stay in the country Ms Patel visited an Israeli military field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights.

Priti Patel resigns as International Development Secretary after meeting Theresa May at Downing Street.