Civil servant resigns after discussing how to 'take down pro-Palestine MPs' with Israeli diplomat

Footage secretly recorded by a media outlet appeared to show the civil servant discuss plans to 'take down' Pro-Palestine MPs

Siobhan Fenton
Social Affairs Correspondent
Sunday 08 January 2017 14:42 GMT
Israeli diplomat caught naming MPs to 'take down'

A former Westminster official has resigned after footage emerged appearing to show her discuss "taking down" pro-Palestinian MPs.

Maria Strizzolo, who is former chief of staff to Conservative MP Robert Halfon, was recorded talking to to Israeli embassy official Shai Masot.

The footage, obtained by Al Jazeera, shows Mr Masot say: "Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?" In response Ms Strizzolo appears to laugh, before responding: "Well you know, if you look hard enough, I'm sure there is something that they're trying to hide."

Ms Strizzolo has reportedly now resigned from her post at the Skills Funding Agency.

Israel's ambassador to the UK Mark Regev has apologised for Mr Masot's comments, describing them as "unacceptable".

Labour has demanded an investigation to probe alleged Israeli "interference" in British politics.

During the conversation between the pair, which took place at the Aubaine restaurant near the Israeli embassy in Kensington, Mr Masot also described Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as "an idiot".

Ms Strizzolo told the Mail on Sunday that her conversation with Mr Masot was “tongue-in-cheek and gossipy”, adding: “Any suggestion that I ... could exert the type of influence you are suggesting is risible.”

She said she knew Mr Masot “purely socially and as a friend. He is not someone with whom I have ever worked or had any political dealings beyond chatting about politics, as millions of people do, in a social context."

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