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UK’s May Taps Penny Mordaunt to Replace Ousted Aid Minister

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday promoted junior minister Penny Mordaunt to international development secretary after Priti Patel resigned over alleged secret meetings with Israeli officials.

Ms. Patel was forced to sign on Wednesday amid reports that she met with Israeli politicians and officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a holiday in Israel over the summer while accompanied by a major lobbyist. She also reportedly suggested giving aid money to the Israel Defence Forces and failed to notify the foreign office of the meetings, along with others in New York and London.

In an interview with the Guardian, Ms. Patel said foreign secretary Boris Johnson knew about the trip.

Ms. Mourdant, a 44-year old Royal Navy reservist, supported Brexit during the 2016 E.U. referendum campaign. She was the armed forces minister under Ms. May’s predecessor David Cameron.

U.K. media noted that Ms. Mourdant’s campaigning for Leave campaign will help Ms. May maintain a delicate balance among her cabinet members as Brexit negotiations continue.

Last week Sir Michael Fallon resigned as defense secretary after saying he had “fallen short” of the behavior required of the armed forces in reponse to allegations of improper sexual behavior. He was replaced by Gavin Williamson, who supported the Remain campaign in the E.U. referendum.

With reporting by AFP.

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