Thousands of people spent the morning watching Priti Patel’s flight to the UK from Nairobi
The International Development Secretary will discover her fate in a matter of hours.
As the International Development Secretary flew back to Britain under orders from the Government, thousands were watching her flight online.
Priti Patel cut short an official visit to Africa to return to Downing Street on Prime Minister Theresa May’s orders after failing to disclose a series of 12 meetings with senior Israeli figures during a family holiday in the country in August.
The story is still developing, including a report from the Israeli Haaretz newspaper that, during her stay in the country, she visited an Israeli military field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights. Britain does not recognise Israeli control of the area.
Downing Street has denied a report in the Jewish Chronicle that Patel told May in the run-up to the UN General Assembly in September that her meetings in Israel had included talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And so a plane flying from Nairobi to London Heathrow was suddenly receiving a lot of attention.
According to the Flight Radar website, more than 22,000 people were tracking flight KQA100, which Patel was reported to be on.
Usually flights are tracked by zero to 200 people.
The excitement over the eight-and-a-half-hour flight from Nairobi to London on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was overflowing on Twitter as people compared it to other scenarios.
Waiting for Priti Patel to land is almost as much fun as when everybody waited for Gordon Brown to come out of Mrs Duffy's house after he called her a bigot, and he didn't for ages, and it really did begin to seem possible he'd utterly lost it and stamped on her cat or something.— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) November 8, 2017
Some felt the hysteria over Patel’s flight was a bit like OJ Simpson running from police in his Bronco in 1994.
Others thought Patel will be in for a shock of similar proportions to Justine Sacco, a communications worker who posted a bad-taste joke on Twitter before boarding a flight to South Africa in 2013, only to discover she had gone horribly viral while in the air.
The hysteria over when #PritiPatel touches down smacks of the Justine Sacco saga all over again. It’s akin to a modern town square flogging.— Amy Rose Harte (@amyroseharte) November 8, 2017
Much of the speculation was around what Patel’s fate may be once the plane lands.
How I imagine Priti Patel's meeting with the PM will go:— Jack Beresford (@JackBeresford86) November 8, 2017
Priti Patel: Hi!
Theresa May: You're fired.
Priti Patel: Bye! pic.twitter.com/RdTw2vaPxG
This story is so crazy it wouldn’t surprise me if Priti Patel got off the plane, walked through the gate and launched a leadership bid right then and there.— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) November 8, 2017
Watching the countdown to Priti Patel's sacking pic.twitter.com/a5ByG7QcSW— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) November 8, 2017