“If Starmer had any humility or empathy for the people of Gaza, he would back a ceasefire now & withdraw his threat to sack front benchers who vote for a ceasefire.”Jess Barnard, Labour NEC member
By Matt Willgress, Labour Outlook
In a strong show of the growing pressure on Keir Starmer to back the call for a Ceasefire Now in Gaza, over 10,000 – including members of over 500 Constituency Labour Parties – have signed a petition reading “We call on the Labour Party leadership to join the growing international calls for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine.”
Commenting on the strength of support for the petition, Apsana Begum MP said, “The ongoing dehumanisation and collective punishment of Palestinians will be marked in history as a crime against humanity. It is vital that the Labour Party stand up against war crimes and be counted.”
Hugh Lanning of Labour & Palestine, who initiated the petition, said “That some 10,000 Labour members from over 500 CLPs have signed the Labour & Palestine petition calling on the Labour leadership to back an immediate ceasefire confirms the strength of opinion at the party’s grassroots.”
He added, “Keir Starmer’s continuing refusal to make the call for a ceasefire and his threats to sack frontbench MPs who vote for one tonight is deeply shocking to members and out of step with the public, risking lasting damage to Labour support. It is time for him to listen and urgently change course.”
Welcoming the growing support for a ceasefire in the Labour Party, TSSA General Secretary Maryam Eslamdoust said “The Labour Party is supposed to stand on the side of the oppressed, and those backing the petition are doing just that. Instead, we have seen MPs being suspended or forced to resign shadow ministerial posts simply for supporting the cause of peace. It is not good enough.”
Young Labour Chair Nabeela Mowlana said, “The last few weeks have demonstrated the strength of feeling amongst the British public that we will not sit by as our political leaders allow atrocities to take place in Palestine. A ceasefire is the first step in a desperately needed peace process rooted in justice and liberation. The Labour leadership must do the right thing by supporting the vote for a ceasefire.”
And Mohammad Suhail, Young Labour International Officer, added “The overwhelming support this petition has received from across the Party is heartening and indicates the position members want to see Keir Starmer take. Ahead of any Commons vote on a ceasefire, we call on all Labour MPs to stand on the side of peace, and vote to call for a ceasefire.”
Speaking to Labour Outlook, Long-standing Palestinian solidarity campaigner and Labour NEC member Jess Barnard said, “Every week, day, hour and minute that this bombardment is allowed to continue, thousands more Palestinians are being robbed of their lives, their futures and their homes.
She added that, “We are being failed by our political leaders, who continue to give military and diplomatic support to Israel while it continues to commit war crimes against the Palestinian people.”
She further noted that, “Keir Starmer is no exception. He is not just out of step with Labours membership, he is on another planet. 76% of the general public support a ceasefire, 10,000 members have now signed the Labour and Palestine petition, hundreds of councillors, regional and national labour figures have all supported the calls for an immediate ceasefire.”
And concluded that, “If Starmer had any humility or empathy for the people of Gaza, he would back a ceasefire now and withdraw his threat to sack front benchers who vote for a ceasefire.”
Also speaking to Labour Outlook, fellow Labour NEC member Gemma Bolton joined those welcoming the strong support for the petition, saying “That over 10,000 Labour members have signed the petition shows that they, like the general public, overwhelmingly back a ceasefire. They rightly understand a ceasefire is the only way to stop the horrific scenes we have seen broadcast from Gaza – and commence the process of negotiating a just and lasting peace.”
She added, “It’s time Keir Starmer joined with the UN, humanitarian organisations, the public, and his own party in calling for an immediate ceasefire now.”
- The petition can be viewed and signed here.
- Over 15,000 people have used a seperate L&P online lobbying tool to MPs in support of Zarah Sultana’s amendment to the King’s Speech calling for a ceasefire. Join them here.
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