As international development secretary Priti Patel returns to Britain on Wednesday, November 8, with the prospect of losing her job, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been told that she is targeting the wrong cabinet minister — and should sack the foreign secretary.
Dr. Emmanuel Navon, an international relations expert from Tel-Aviv University and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, insists the British foreign secretary has been a bigger thorn in the side of the UK premier and should be axed immediately.
"Theresa May has many unruly ministers in her cabinet, so if she wants to sack anybody, then start with Boris Johnson, who has been challenging her and her Brexit policy," Dr. Navon told Sputnik.
"There are many members of the British cabinet especially the foreign secretary who openly challenge Mrs. May and should start with him."
EXCL: Emily Thornberry writes to Boris Johnson demanding her resign if Nazanin Ratcliffe’s jail term is increased due to his gaffe. pic.twitter.com/KNI5JEpibx— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) November 6, 2017
With her departure from the cabinet appearing imminent, Ms. Patel is expected to pay the price, however, for holding a series of undisclosed meetings with senior Israeli officials during a private family holiday in August — breaking a strict ministerial code.
Despite having officially apologized, further revelations on Tuesday, November 7, that she also met two other high-profile Israeli figures in September has infuriated the British premier further, forcing her to take action.
Priti Patel breached Ministerial Code, and now caught misleading British public. If she doesn't resign, May must launch investigation.— Kate Osamor (@KateOsamor) November 6, 2017
British Media 'Really Exaggerating'
According to Dr. Navon, the case against Ms. Patel — who would be the second departure from May's cabinet in a week — has been created by a witch-hunt by the British media.
"I think the media is really exaggerating this whole story. Meeting with officials even during a private visit is something everybody does. I wonder if the British media would also blow this whole issue out of proportion if it was about another country especially in Europe," Dr. Navon told Sputnik.
"Politicians should be entitled to have private meetings, indeed with whoever they want when this is not in an official capacity. I don't think they should need to have government permission," he added.
In the case of Ms. Patel, he stressed, the meetings involved an ally of the UK and did not take place in an enemy country.
Dr. Navon said he believes Theresa May is now a "lame duck," having called a snap general election, and subsequently losing her majority.
In addition, he added, she has lost the authority she used to have, resulting in chaos within her own cabinet.
Singling out the international trade secretary, he insisted, was "completely hypocritical," especially as it is likely to now cause a "snowball effect" and give the impression her government is falling apart at a crucial time in the Brexit negotiations.
The saga is unlikely to damage relations between the two countries, Britain and Israel, however, as there already existed a 'strong personal relationship'' said Dr Navon. There remains a common bond between the two including the sharing of intelligence, security and trade, although this could be damaged if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is successful at the next general election.