Here is the key section of Priti Patel’s resignation letter:
“As you know from our discussions I accept that in meeting with organisations and politicians during a private holiday in Israel my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that i have promoted and advocated.
“I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the government for what has happened and offer my resignation.”
And here is the essence of Theresa May’s response.
“…when we met on Monday, I was glad to accept your apology and welcomed your clarification about your trip to israel during he summer. now that further details have come to light, it is right that you have decided to resign and adhere to the high standards of transparency and openness that you have advocated.”
There was a flurry of excitement at Westminster earlier today when a story in the Jewish Chronicle suggested that Downing Street’s account of what the Prime Minister knew and when was not fully accurate.
Not the slightest hint of this version of events appears in the former International Development Secretary’s letter. And she has resigned, rather than been sacked. The content and tone of the letters has a carefully choreographed feel. And Patel says – as Michael Fallon’s resignation note did not – that she will “continue to support you and the Government”.
So it looks as though, for the moment at least, May and Patel have together found a way of managing the latter’s department from the Government harmoniously. We will see how long this settlement lasts – and where this story goes next.
For British-Israel relations; Conservative supporters and opponents of Israel; partisans for the Prime Minister and plotters against her, plus the Westminster Village it is a big one. We suspect that for most voters it will barely register.
As for Patel herself, we are where we were this morning. She is a brave and combative politician whose coming out for Brexit showed courage and resolution.
But as she concedes herself, her unauthorised meetings in Israel were a blunder, and her failure to come clean about them in full even worse. These errors looked fatal, we wrote this morning. So it has proved.
It will be best for the Government and Prime Minister if Patel’s replacement, if not actually a Leave supporter, at least shares her enthusiasm for the possibilities that Brexit offers to Britain. The obvious replacement is Penny Mordaunt; but many obvious things in politics don’t happen.
Patel’s letter and May’s reply can be read in full here.