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Wave of Labour frontbenchers resign to back calls for ceasefire in Gaza | Politics News

A wave of Labour frontbenchers including senior MP Jess Phillips have resigned in order to back an SNP motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, in a blow to Sir Keir Starmer’s authority.

Afzal Khan, Yasmin Qureshi, Paula Barker and Naz Shah are among the eight shadow junior ministers that quit in order to defy party orders to abstain from the vote.

Politics Live: Reaction as Starmer hit by resignations

Rachel Hopkins, Sarah Owen and Andy Slaughter have also left their frontbench roles after breaking the party whip to back the amendment.

MPs voted 293 to 125, majority 168, to reject the SNP’s King’s Speech amendment calling for “all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza.

But in a blow to Sir Keir’s authority:

  • 56 Labour MPs backed the SNP position despite Labour’s stance
  • Eight shadow ministers quit, bringing total resignations since the war started to nine
  • Two parliamentary private secretaries, Dan Carden and Mary Foy, also quit

The MPs who rebelled say Sir Keir’s calls for humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Hamas war don’t go far enough.

In a statement following the vote, Sir Keir said he regretted that party colleagues had not backed his position.

But he added: “I wanted to be clear about where I stood, and where I will stand. Leadership is about doing the right thing. That is the least the public deserves. And the least that leadership demands.”

The Labour Party has been divided over its approach to the Middle East conflict.

The Labour leader has backed the government’s position of pushing for humanitarian pauses in the fighting to allow aid to reach Palestinians trapped in the bombarded territory, but stopping short of calling for a total cessation of hostilities – saying that would “embolden” Hamas.

The resignations tonight mean that nine shadow ministers have quit over Labour’s position in total, after Imran Hussain stepped down last week.

Sky News’s political correspondent Tamara Cohen described the resignations as possibly the…

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This notice was published: 2023-11-15 18:35:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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