“I want to be able to strongly advocate for a ceasefire, as called for by the UN General Secretary. In order to be fully free to do so, I have stepped down from Labour’s Frontbench.”Imran Hussain MP
Read Imran Hussain MP’s letter of resignation to Keir Starmer in full below:
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to tender my resignation as Shadow Minister for the New Deal for Working People after eight years on the Labour Party frontbench.
Since being appointed as Shadow Minister for Employment Rights and Protections over three years ago, I have been proud to work alongside yourself and Angela Rayner in developing our truly transformational plan for employment rights through our New Deal for Working People. Regardless of my decision today, I remain wholly committed to this agenda and I look forward to supporting your future Labour Government to achieve this much needed upgrading of workers’ rights.
However, over recent weeks, it has become clear that my view on the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza differs substantially from the position you have adopted.
As I write, more than 1,400 Israeli and over 10,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the last month. This shocking number of fatalities is set to grow as indiscriminate attacks and the siege of Gaza continues. Yesterday, the United Nations Secretary-General warned that Gaza is becoming a “graveyard for children” and stated that a humanitarian ceasefire becomes “more urgent with every passing hour.”
Given the crisis unfolding, I wish to be a strong advocate for the humanitarian ceasefire advocated by the UN General Secretary, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN humanitarian bodies, by numerous governments, and by leading humanitarian organisations like Oxfam, Save the Children and Amnesty International.
It is clear that I cannot sufficiently, in all good conscience, do this from the frontbench given its current position.
A ceasefire is essential to ending the bloodshed, to ensuring that enough aid can pass into Gaza and reach those most in need, and to help ensure the safe return of the Israeli hostages.
As I made clear to the Foreign Secretary on Tuesday 24 October 2023, the situation in Gaza is now beyond that of a humanitarian catastrophe. The cutting of food, water, power and medicine to Palestinians in Gaza is an act of collective punishment that violates international law and is a clear war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
Like many others, I was therefore deeply troubled by the comments you made during an LBC interview on 11 October 2023 where you appeared to endorse such actions by the Israeli military. Whilst I appreciate your subsequent statements to clarify your comments and the increased emphasis being placed on addressing the desperate situation in Gaza, and whilst we both want to end the bloodshed, I believe the party needs to go further and call for a ceasefire.
I have unequivocally condemned Hamas’s attacks of 07 October and I firmly agree that every country has the right to defend itself. This however can never become a right to deliberately violate international law on protecting civilians or to commit war crimes. It has always been my view, which I’ve made clear repeatedly in Parliament, that human rights are universal and that it is our duty to call out all those who violate international law and commit war crimes.
I will therefore continue to press from the backbenches for a humanitarian ceasefire to protect civilians in line with the demands of the UN Secretary-General and, beyond that, for the realisation of a lasting resolution that will deliver peace for Israelis and Palestinians as part of a two-state solution.
Imran Hussain MP
- This was originally published by Imran Hussain MP here.