Penny Mordaunt expected to replace Priti Patel in reshuffle

Theresa May is set to appoint a new International Development Secretary after Priti Patel resigned from the role.

Work and Pensions minister Penny Mordaunt is expected to be confirmed as Ms Patel's replacement after being seen entering Number 10.

Ms Patel quit following a meeting with the Prime Minister, in the wake of revelations that she had held undisclosed meetings with Israeli political figures.

It comes after a hasty reshuffle when Sir Michael Fallon quit as Defence Secretary following allegations of inappropriate behaviour. He was replaced by former Chief Whip Gavin Williamson, sparking a backlash in itself over his level of experience.

Priti Patel's letter of resignation to the prime minister

She was ordered back from a trip to Africa by the prime minister, and arrived at Downing Street to see Theresa May on Wednesday evening.

In her resignation letter, Patel wrote of her pride in working alongside the prime minister and her government colleagues in her letter of resignation, offering a "fulsome apology" for what happened.

On Thursday, she made her first public comment since resigning via her Twitter account, thanking people for their "support and kindness".

Accepting her resignation in a latter, May said it was "right" that Patel had "decided to resign" given the details which had come to light.

She also praised Patel's achievements in the role.

Theresa May's letter to Priti Patel accepting her resignation

Having already apologised for having 12 undisclosed meetings during a "family holiday" in Israel, including with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it emerged last night that Ms Patel had two further unauthorised meetings with Israeli political figures.

It is understood she met Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan in Parliament on September 7, and foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York on September 18, following the August meetings in Israel.

Downing Street was reportedly told about the New York breakfast with Mr Rotem when Ms Patel revealed the details of her trip to Israel, but only learned on Tuesday about the meeting in Parliament with Mr Erdan.

Priti Patel apologised for 12 other undisclosed meetings Credit: PA

No British officials were present and like her meetings in Israel, she did not report them to the Foreign Office or Government in the usual way.

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

Labour has already demanded an investigation by the Prime Minister's standards adviser into Ms Patel's meetings with the Israeli government, claiming they involved four "serious breaches" of the ministerial code.

Number 10 confirmed that Ms Patel had 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.

However the Prime Minister's official spokesman was unable to say whether she had explained when she met Mrs May that the scheme would have involved supplying funding to the Israeli army.

Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said there were "strong grounds" to believe that Ms Patel had broken the ministerial code's requirements for openness, collective responsibility, honesty and performing only those duties allocated to them by the PM.

Theresa May summoned Priti Patel back from a trip to Africa Credit: PA

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

Ms Patel only made Mrs May aware of the meetings on Friday, more than two months after they took place, when reports began to emerge of talks she held with a politician and a disability charity.

Downing Street has denied a report in the Jewish Chronicle that Ms Patel told Mrs May in the run-up to the UN General Assembly in September that her meetings in Israel had included talks with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Priti Patel met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: PA

No 10 also dismissed a claim by the newspaper that the Prime Minister had instructed Ms Patel not to include one of the latest meetings in the list she released on Monday so as not to embarrass the Foreign Office.

"It is not true that the Prime Minister knew about the International Development Secretary's meeting with PM Netanyahu before Friday November 3," a No 10 spokesman said.

"It is equally untrue to say that No 10 asked DfID to remove any meetings from the list they published this week."

The minister has apologised and admitted a "lack of precision" for suggesting last week that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson knew about the trip, and that only two meetings had taken place.