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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Open rebellion in the UK Labour ranks over ceasefire in Gaza

Thousands rally outside the UK parliament to call for MPs to support a ceasefire in Gaza, November 15

For many months -- buoyed by, to date, excellent polling numbers against a deeply tired an unpopular Conservative government -- leader Keir Starmer has been very successful in his reactionary efforts to push the UK's Labour Party to the right and to shed the brief leftism embraced by now purged former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

But Starmer's craven politics -- notable for its utter gutlessness and pandering to the very worst British imperialist and economic narratives -- have finally gone a bridge too far for a growing number of elected members of his party who are now in open revolt over his appalling refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

On Wednesday night in the UK House of Commons the Scottish National Party proposed a motion backing a ceasefire in Gaza that was rejected.

Al -Jazeera reports that the amendment calling for “all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire” failed in a vote of 125 in favour and 293 against with Starmer and most of the Labour caucus voting with the Conservatives against this.

However, 56 Labour lawmakers, including several on his policy team, voted for a ceasefire showing that there is tremendous disquiet within the ranks.

Labour frontbencherJess Phillips resigned because of the vote along with Afzal Khan, Yasmin Qureshi and Paula Barker. According to the Guardian, Rachel Hopkins, Sarah Owen, Naz Shah, and Andy Slaughter were sacked by the Labour leader after the vote. Mary Foy, Angela Rayner’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS), and Dan Carden, another PPS, have also left the frontbench.

Of course, rather disgracefully, this still means that around 75% of Labour MPs voted against calling for a ceasefire.

Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf condemned them saying that legislators had “the chance to put humanity before politics” but failed to do so.

He added, “I am beyond angry that Scottish Labour MPs and others refused to back the calls for an immediate ceasefire. They are on the wrong side of history, which is unforgivable.”

On November 7, UK shadow minister Imran Hussain quit Labour’s front bench in protest at Starmer’s refusal to heed calls from many in his party to push for an Israeli ceasefire.

About 50 Labour Party councillors, many Muslim, had earlier resigned from the party itself over Starmer’s position, with some even calling for him to step down.


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