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Something doesn't add up with Number Ten's statement on Patel

Number Ten's statement raises more questions than it answers

    Priti Patel
    Priti Patel Getty Images

    Something is very odd about the latest development in the Priti Patel scandal - which is itself odd. 

    Today Number Ten confirmed that it had only found out this morning about her plan to hand some British aid money over to the Israelis to use as part of their (legendarily good) aid missions.

    But this puzzles me. Well before last week's James Landale scoop about Ms Patel's meetings with Israeli politicians, I was told very matter of factly that there would soon be an announcement of cooperation between the UK and Israel over aid in Africa - that we would divert some of our aid money to the Israelis to fund some of their aid work there.

    I was told that it had been signed off between DfID and Number Ten, but that the FCO had kicked off because it felt its toes were being trodden on. 

    To repeat: I was told this before the James Landale revelation. It was told to me not as anything remotely newsworthy, just to be aware for the JC that an announcement was imminent and we might want to cover it as a good news story of UK-Israel cooperation. The only reason it hadn't already been announced, I was told, was this Whitehall logjam.

    My source is impeccable. In all my time around politics I have never known this source be wrong or spin me.

    And yet today, Number Ten is saying it had no idea about the plan.

    Something doesn't add up.

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