Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Priti Patel on events in Tunisia, G8 and Gaza

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Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Patel was born in ‘an incredible’ holiday camp on the cusp of Tunisia

The former work and pensions secretary has been caught on camera saying that he supports the force of law and order.

Priti Patel visited Tunisia in 2011 with former prime minister David Cameron on the sidelines of the G8 summit.

The MP from Reading West is now embroiled in a new scandal in which she allegedly attended an Israel-based conference disguised as an aid volunteer.

However, in the interview, Ms Patel, who previously faced criticism for her own close links to controversial figures, said she had not been “powerless” when dealing with the controversies of the past.

Who is Priti Patel?

Ms Patel was born on the cusp of Tunisia in 1991, in an “incredible” holiday camp, during a tourist trip organised by the now-disgraced David Norgrove.

The MP told Sky News she had spent a lot of time there when her parents returned from having done a holiday at the resort in Menorca.

‘Terror hit point’

She told Sky News she had travelled to Tunisia in 2011, “a bit from the outside”, when she “think terrorism hit a point where it had really never been hit before”.

In the interview, Ms Patel said: “The position I then found myself in, as someone with a bit of a perspective that governments can’t change everything overnight, was sort of in a way I wasn’t powerless.”

However, she declined to comment on suggestions she had attended a conference sponsored by a criminal group.

“Because I’m not able to disclose the background and what has transpired, it’s very difficult to comment on that,” she said.

‘Not going back to Tunisia’

Ms Patel on Sunday resigned as the government’s International Development Secretary amid allegations of having attended a conference arranged by “an extremist group”

The trip had been part of a holiday at an Egyptian desert camp for aid workers and politicians when Britain was boycotting the country as a result of the militant uprising that led to the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The trip was organised by the director of a conference which included a name in English and was registered on a website which bills it as a G8 event, hosted by a group called Chutzpah Enterprise.

Ms Patel told Sky News she had not been misled and that some days she had said she was helping to implement the aid programme.

“I said I was organising a G8 seminar in Nairobi and we went for three days there. I believed then that I had an official, privileged position in government, I believed then I was giving something back,” she said.

“It’s not going back to Tunisia, it’s not going back to Tunisia, but the point I want to make is I think that the power that we have as government, and that ministers have, makes us actually have a responsibility and a duty to ensure we’re very open and transparent.”

She said the African Development Bank had offered to send a team to make sure the programme did not “fall apart”.

“We’re trying to take responsibility to stop it, but at the same time, in the face of the incredibly tragic events that happened on 7 September in Mogadishu, we now know that the UK will be giving hundreds of millions of pounds to Somalia,” she said.

“So I’m in the process of trying to balance both the responsibility, but also the cost of actually not going into a country and not doing that good work – and I won’t do that.”

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