Labor accused the Home Secretary of being ‘reckless’ and ‘a serial offender’ for breaking the ministerial code after allegations she brokered a meeting between a billionaire Tory donor and British Airways.
The Sunday Mirror reported that Priti Patel held a meeting on August 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow Airport, which is part of a chain owned by conservative donor Surinder Arora.
Mr. Arora – who is founder and chairman of the Arora Group – was present at the meeting with his son and Arora’s chief strategy officer, Sanjay; Carlton Brown, Chief Financial Officer of Arora; Dubai Airports General Manager Paul Griffiths; and BA’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Lisa Tremble.
BA CEO Sean Doyle was reportedly invited but was unable to attend.
But the Sunday Mirror reported that there were no Home Office officials present, as rules would dictate there should be if government business was discussed.
The ministerial code states: “A private secretary or official must be present for all discussions relating to government business.
“If a minister meets with an outside organization or individual and finds himself discussing official business without an official present – for example at a social occasion or on vacation – all important content should be returned to the ministry as soon as possible. possible after the event. “
A spokesperson for the Minister of the Interior said: “Details of all relevant external meetings of the Minister of the Interior will be published in the usual manner in accordance with the ministerial code.”
It is understood that the Home Secretary considered this to be a private meeting and the lunch was declared at his office private.
But reports will raise eyebrows after Ms Patel was forced to resign her post as International Development Secretary in 2017 after unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials.
Deputy Labor Party leader Angela Rayner said: “The Home Secretary is a serial offender who breaks the ministerial code. It is time for the Prime Minister to take his release card away from him.
“This secret lobbying lunch would break the rules three times. She has serious questions to answer and must be investigated by the Secretary to Cabinet immediately. “
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow Home Secretary for Labor, added: “The Home Secretary is so reckless in her duties that it appears she is participating in closed-door meetings without an official presence. “
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was also present at the meeting without anyone from his department.
The Sunday Mirror reported he was present in his role as a local MP as Heathrow borders his constituency of Spelthorne.
Mr Arora had previously donated to former Conservative Chancellor Philip Hammond when he was his local MP.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “I have known Kwarsi and Priti for years. I said to come, have lunch and see my new hotel.
“I don’t do politics. I can’t stand anybody. There was no agenda.