A high-flying Conservative politician was brought crashing down to earth after being forced to resign over unauthorised meetings.

Priti Patel, who was serving as international development secretary, stepped down after it emerged that she had held a number of secret meetings with Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Born in Harrow and educated at Watford Grammar School for Girls, Ms Patel was considered a rising star of the Conservative Party and was handed a Cabinet position by Theresa May in July 2016.

But her dealings in Israel meant she had “broken the ministerial code” and, as a result, she had no choice but to quit.

In her resignation letter to Mrs May, she wrote: “While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated.

“I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened.”

She added that she would continue to offer her full support and explained how she would channel her focus into bettering the lives of her constituents in Witham, Essex.

News of Ms Patel’s meetings while on holiday in Israel this August broke on November 6, for which she was formally reprimanded in Downing Street.

But she was summoned back from an official trip in Uganda after details emerged of further unauthorised summits.

In light of this, the Prime Minister said it was “right” that she had resigned but that she could “take pride” in her time as a Secretary of State.