June 18, 2024

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Starmer suffers major rebellion over Israel-Hamas war

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Wednesday suffered a major rebellion over his stance on the Israel-Hamas war, as 10 frontbenchers quit and 46 other MPs defied him to back a parliamentary motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Starmer had made clear to his shadow ministers that they would be forced to leave the front bench if they voted in the House of Commons for an amendment to the King’s Speech by the Scottish Nationalist Party that supported a ceasefire.

Jess Phillips was one of the most high-profile departures as she resigned from her role as shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding. She was joined by front bench colleagues including shadow minister for crime reduction Naz Shah and shadow solicitor-general Andy Slaughter.

In total, 56 Labour MPs rebelled against the instruction from party whips to abstain on the SNP motion — including eight shadow ministers and two parliamentary private secretaries who quit the front bench.

The Labour leadership had tried to assuage MPs wanting to back a ceasefire by putting forward its own amendment criticising both the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas, following the Palestinian militant group’s attack on the Jewish state on October 7.

About 1,200 people were killed by Hamas fighters, and 200 hostages taken to Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

Starmer had already lost one shadow minister over the Israel-Hamas conflict when Imran Hussein was forced to resign as shadow employment minister last week.

Before Wednesday’s vote about 20 Labour frontbenchers — either junior shadow ministers or whips — had defied Starmer and called for a ceasefire in various forums.

Charities have described the situation in Gaza as a humanitarian catastrophe, and Palestinian officials say the Israeli military’s bombardment of the coastal enclave since October 7 has killed more than 11,000…

2023-11-15 16:19:29

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