Priti Patel has resigned from the front bench. This is largely because the Prime Minister appears to be in a too weak a position to sack anyone. The week before this, we saw a resignation from defence Minister Michael Fallon. Meanwhile several other ministers including Damian Green and Steven Crabb face investigations based on their sexual misconduct.
Yet if it were not for Patel Boris Johnson would be the one in the firing line this week. In his lack of diplomacy, the foreign secretary has foolishly testified that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British Iranian woman jailed in Iran, has been engaged in teaching people journalism there: A view that contrasts with that of that of her employer and actually lines up to the view of the Israeli government. Because of our Boris’ complete and utter disregard for Ratcliffe’s human rights, she now faces an extra five years in jail. In any other profession, such a catastrophic blunder would have you sacked in an instant, but because Theresa May is in too weak of a position to sack anyone, or even do a major reshuffle, we are stuck with this callous and inept joke of a foreign minister.
Let us go back to the case of Priti Patel for a second. In August, she had dozens of unauthorised meetings in Israel. We do not know entirely what was discussed but that one of these meetings included an encounter with Benjamin Netanyahu. Instead of being open and honest about her dealings, Patel chose to lie to Parliament and to the entire country by giving incomplete or else throughouly-misrepresented information. Even when pushed to give a full account of her contacts, she failed to mention two other meetings held after her supposed holiday. If Patel were fired, instead of quietly resigning, these would be grounds for it in and of themselves. Her meetings in a sensitive region, her attempts to cover it up, her lies to parliament and the entire country. These would more than justify Patel being considered to untrustworthy to hold the position of International development secretary. Yet Mays failure to show strong leadership, has led to some additional questions being raised about the government’s role in the scandal.
According to a report in the Jewish chronicle, May was not left completely in the dark about Patel’s questionable activities. The Prime Minister has a conversation in with her about the Netanyahu meetings this September. Not only this, but it was apparently Downing Street that urged the International development secretary not to come completely clean if questioned. Downing Street dismisses that claim, but if true, it would raise questions about their unwillingness to sack Patel.
Therefore, to recap, the International develop secretary stands accused of holding secret meetings with Israeli officials, and has been forced to resign as a result. The foreign secretary stands accused of putting out false information that is potentially damaging to the legal case of a British citizen. While they differ in the sense that one is a case of outright corruption and the other a case of absolute idiocy, they are both cases of misrepresenting very serious international affairs, to the UK parliament and the British people. Priti Patel is gone, Boris Johnson should be next!