British Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel resigned Wednesday unauthorized meetings with senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, AFP reported.
Patel, a member of the Conservative party’s “Thatcherite” wing met with senior Israeli leaders while vacationing in the Jewish state this August.
"I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the government for what has happened and offer my resignation," she wrote in a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Patel also wrote in her letter that there had been a "number of reports about my actions and I am sorry that these have served as a distraction."
May accepted Patel's resignation, and said that "the UK and Israel are close allies, and it is right that we should work closely together. But that must be done formally."
Patel held a total of 12 meetings with Israeli officials during her 13-day visit, including meetings with premier Netanyahu, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, and Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem.
Britain’s ministerial code requires cabinet members to receive approval from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for all meetings with foreign leaders. Patel has argued that no actual violation of code took place, since her meetings occurred while on holiday.
The Prime Minister May declined to sack Patel, saying there was no “damage”, though Patel was upbraided for the matter.
On Monday, May met with Patel, to discuss the implications of her meetings under the ministerial code, a government spokesperson said.
“The prime minister met the secretary of state this morning to remind her of the obligations which exist under the ministerial code.”
Patel issued a formal apology Monday, saying that she realized now that her “enthusiasm to engage” with Israeli leaders could be misinterpreted.