Second member of Theresa May's Cabinet quits within space of a week

Priti Patel has tonight resigned as Britain's International Development Secretary.

She is the second member of the Theresa May's top team to lose their job in a week, after Michael Fallon quit as defence secretary last Wednesday over allegations of improper advances to female journalists.

Patel acknowledged that her "actions fell below the standards of transparency and openness" she had advocated.

Her decision to resign as International Development Secretary came after being summoned back from an official visit to Africa for a showdown with Theresa May in Downing Street.

Ms Patel had been intending to spend three days in Kenya and Uganda, but was forced to cut short her trip and return home from Nairobi to explain the disclosure of further unauthorised meetings with Israeli politicians.

In a letter to the British Prime Minister, Ms Patel said: "I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened and offer my resignation."

Ms Patel's downfall came after it emerged she had a series of 12 meetings with senior Israeli figures during a holiday in the country in August.

She then held two additional meetings, one in the UK and one in the US, following her return from Israel.

In a further development, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported that during her stay in the country she visited an Israeli military field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights.

In her letter Ms Patel said: "In recent days there have been a number of reports about my actions and I am sorry that these have served as a distraction from the work of the Department for International Development and of the Government as a whole.

"As you know from our discussions I accept that in meeting with organisations and politicians during a private holiday in Israel my actions fell below the high standards that are expected of a Secretary of State.

"While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated."


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