A former minister was heckled after questioning if Priti Patel received a “much more cordial” reception in Israel than he did “just because she’s a lady”.

Sir Desmond Swayne’s remarks were met with groans and shouts of “what?” by some MPs in the Commons.

They came as the Commons considered the International Secretary’s failure to inform the Foreign Office about her decision to conduct a series of meetings, including one with Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while said to be on holiday.

Sir Desmond, a former international development minister, said: “When I met the Israeli deputy prime minister, he stormed out of the meeting.

“The Secretary of State got a much more cordial reception. Is it just because she’s a lady?”

International development minister Alistair Burt replied as Ms Patel was travelling to Africa for pre-arranged Government business.

He said: “I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for me to answer either how (Sir Desmond) was treated himself or the reception for the Secretary of State for International Development.

“I’m quite sure both meetings were perfectly proper and appropriate.”