THERESA May is a lucky lady. With two Ministerial resignations in one week it doesn’t look that way right now — I ken. But just think.

If Brexit wasn’t such an all-consuming nightmare, the Tory leader would have triggered parliamentary rebellions aplenty this summer after revealing plans to rob the Commons of its authority and Holyrood of its powers.

If the Tory leader hadn’t coughed her way through that conference speech, its dire content would have been the thing that attracted attention.

If Boris Johnson wasn’t such a grade-one pillock, she would have had real competition for the top job afterwards.

And if the tragic suicide of a Labour MP hadn’t grabbed the headlines this week, voters would still be pondering the arrogance of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon who denied and trivialised allegations of sexual harassment before he was fired.

But even the lucky run aground sometime.

And yesterday lunchtime should have been that time.

With her right-hand man Damien Green facing porn charges, Bojo’s loose talk endangering a captive mum’s life, anger over the Prime Minister’s refusal to publish Brexit impact papers, and Priti Patel cosying up to the Israelis in secret, Theresa May should have been facing a right royal skewering at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.

But the Tory leader was in luck again. Long after the tattie-hoiking holiday in Scotland, the Commons had its own late autumn break. So with parliament conveniently in recess, there was no press briefing, no cabinet meeting and therefore no moment of terminal embarrassment as she faced Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP’s Ian Blackford at the dispatch box.

Theresa must have thought she had got away Scot-free — again.

But her disgraced International Development Secretary was winging her way back from Africa for a Number Ten carpeting — and when Priti Patel finally resigned last night it was immediately apparent that the “Prexit” scandal could yet topple Theresa May.

Now I’ll grant you, secret meetings in Israel look fairly innocuous at first glance.

So a British minister met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli ministers without prior notice and in breach of the ministerial code. Big deal. If you were a government minister on holiday, you might easily touch base with your opposite number in that foreign government. But fourteen times? Either Patel’s family are the longest suffering holiday-makers on the planet, or the holiday was a cover-up for the most monumental and misguided change in British foreign policy.

Priti Patel was effectively changing foreign policy on the hoof, meeting Israeli politicians to float the idea that Britain’s aid budget could be channelled to projects carried out by the Israeli army which illegally occupies the Golan Heights. This is beyond astonishing — it puts Britain at odds with the whole international community. And whatever denial Theresa May comes up with next week, the seeds of the new approach were evident in Britain’s voting decisions at the Human Rights Council held in March this year.

The UK Government voted in favour of resolutions on self-determination and human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, stating: “A two-state solution is the only sustainable path for delivering justice and human rights for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

But it then abstained on resolutions condemning illegal Israeli settlements and annexations because “both sides [must] take responsibility for human rights violations and the implications for business.”

The British Government statement continued; “Nowhere is the disproportionate focus on Israel starker and more absurd than in the case of today’s resolution on the occupation of Syria’s Golan. Syria’s regime butchers and murders its people on a daily basis. But it is not Syria that is a permanent standing item on the Council’s agenda; it is Israel. Whilst we are unswerving in our conviction that the Golan Heights are occupied and do not recognise Israel’s annexation, we cannot accept the perverse message sent out by a Syrian resolution that singles out Israel, while Assad continues to slaughter the Syrian people. So we have voted against the Golan resolution and … will adopt a policy of voting against all resolutions concerning Israel’s conduct in the Occupied Syrian and Palestinian Territories.”

That surely is the genesis of Britain’s new willingness to tolerate illegal Israeli settlements. But there’s more.

Now that Theresa May has hung her jet-setting International Secretary out to dry, the Prime Minister must be hoping questions about her own competence will end. That’s not going to happen. Last night the editor of the Jewish Chronicle insisted the Prime Minister knew about the extra high-level meetings held with Israeli officials but advised Priti Patel not to disclose them so as not to embarrass the Foreign Office.

On the paper’s website, Stephen Pollard said; “On 22 August — the same day Patel spoke to Netanyahu, Middle East minister Alistair Burt … met Michael Oren, Deputy Minister at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office [and] Oren referred to Patel having a successful meeting with Netanyahu earlier. It is understood this information was then conveyed to Number 10.”


As ever it’s not (just) the story, it’s the cover-up that ends political careers. The longer Theresa May maintains she knew nothing about her Minister’s overtures to Israel, the more her own future hangs in the balance. If she didn’t know what was happening, she should have. If she did know, she’s been lying ever since.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford insists Theresa May must answer some critical questions. When was the Prime Minister first informed about the International Development Secretary’s meetings with the Israeli Prime Minister?

Is the Government’s position now that it officially recognises Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights — and is the government now committed to giving UK financial aid to the Israeli army?

May will get no peace till she answers. Even if she tries to switch subjects to Brexit as the chaotic Withdrawal Bill returns to the Commons. And of course she must appoint a successor to Priti Patel. If she doesn’t choose a Brexiteer there will be fury in Tory ranks. But she might well find herself scraping the barrel. Last night Channel Four news interviewed the supposedly suave Jacob Rees Mogg and asked if he would serve if appointed. Of course he would — as long as his nanny approved. The man who thinks the growing use of food banks in the UK is “rather uplifting” would doubtless be a little ray of sunshine in Theresa’s doom-laden cabinet.

But whether this old Etonian or another chinless wonder is appointed, Theresa May’s luck could finally run out next week.

The farcical Withdrawal Bill returns to the Commons, Boris Johnson finishes a trip to Iran where he must secure the release of British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to save his political skin, and she must explain to parliament why the British Government supports the illegal Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights. Taken together, all these examples of Tory incompetence and sharp practice look set to explode like a belated Bonfire Night fireworks display.

Yesterday Tussaud’s unveiled a new waxwork of the Prime Minister walking out of Ten Downing Street in the red suit she wore for her first meeting with President Trump.

Edward Fuller, general manager of the world-famous museum. said: “We guarantee our wax figure of the Prime Minister is most definitely strong and stable.”

It’ll be astonishing if the same can be said for Theresa May by next Friday.