Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, is under intense pressure to resign but the abject weakness of Theresa May has so far prevented the PM-in-name-only from sacking her for a series of meetings during Patel’s ‘holiday’ in Israel.
Theresa May’s excuse? ‘No damage was done‘:
Fellow front-bencher Liam Fox also defended his colleague, telling Radio 4’s Today programme:
It’s not in any way forbidden to do that.
Really? Well, perhaps Mr Fox can be excused for thinking that. After all, it was all of six years ago that Fox himself was forced to resign for breaching the ministerial code by taking his friend, Adam Werrity, to official meetings when Werrity had no official status or security clearance.
Such small things can easily slip the mind.
To most of us, though, taking a mate to a meeting would pale into insignificance compared to Downing Street’s confirmation this morning that Ms Patel’s undisclosed meetings – which included a secret meeting with Israeli PM Benjamin Neytanyahu – was followed by her asking for foreign aid money, which is meant for the world’s poor, struggling nations, to be sent to the Israeli army:
We’ve all done it, of course – pop off to Scarborough or North Wales for a break, bump into a few people we didn’t expect to meet and end up trying to funnel billions to the armed forces of a foreign power.
Or not, as the case may be.
Others were a little less prepared to turn a blind eye or call ‘no harm, no foul’ on Ms Patel’s attempted deception – which the PM has claimed/admitted she didn’t know about for three months after the event.
Comedian David Schneider used humour to withering effect to highlight Ms Patel’s farcical excuses:
Others were more direct. Author Alex Nunns pointed out that even after she was caught out, Patel had tried to claim all her meetings were now in the public domain – in spite of a rather large omission:
Rights Watch’s Miqdaad Versi pointed out that when Ms Patel claimed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson knew about her meetings, it appears that was untrue:
Versi also pointed out that May’s claim that the Ministerial Code is unclear about such behaviour and its expected consequence is, well, bollocks:
Patel’s failure to resign and May’s failure to sack her demonstrate with crystal clarity that the Tories are bereft of honour and beyond desperate to cling to power – and that May as PM and the Tories as even a shell of a government are broken beyond repair.
They must both go – but nothing short of a General Election will be sufficient to right the wrongs being perpetrated on us all by a party that has no excuse for doing anything but fall on its collective sword.
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