EXCLUSIVE: Caroline Lucas says Labour is on ‘wrong side of history’ over Gaza ceasefire

The Green Party MP said a 'political process' is needed, not 'more bullets and bombs'

A photo of Palestine solidarity protesters

The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has said that Labour is on the ‘wrong side of history’ after last night’s House of Commons vote on a ceasefire in Gaza. MPs were asked to vote on an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech which called on the UK government to “join with the international community in urgently pressing all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire”.

Despite 56 of Keir Starmer’s MPs breaking ranks and voting for the amendment, Labour whipped its parliamentarians to abstain.

Speaking to Left Foot Forward as part of an exclusive interview reflecting on her 13 years in parliament which will be published in full tomorrow, Caroline Lucas said: “I think it was incredibly disappointing that Labour is on the wrong side of history on this”.

Labour’s position is that Israel should allow ‘humanitarian pauses’ in order for aid to enter Gaza. Lucas told Left Foot Forward why she thinks this approach is wrong. She said: “I used to work for Oxfam and I’m really struck by the fact that how so many of those international NGOs are talking about just why humanitarian pauses are simply not up to the job”, later adding: “the scale of the suffering and the killing and the horror that is happening in Gaza right now [isn’t] all going to be solved by humanitarian pauses – it has to be a ceasefire.”

Lucas continued: “People like Oxfam are pointing out that in order to get aid in in any significant quantities, some of the roads are broken now so they need to be able to mend some of the infrastructure even to get aid in to the people who need it. So I very much hope that Labour will listen to people on the ground who are really calling for a ceasefire.”

Alongside this, Lucas responded to some of the arguments that the Labour leader Keir Starmer has made when criticising calls for a ceasefire. Last month, he made a speech in which he said “a ceasefire always freezes any conflict in the state where it currently lives”.

Lucas told Left Foot Forward that no one calling for a ceasefire is making a case for the status quo. She said: “I think that the argument that a ceasefire simply freezes the conflict where it is is not right. I don’t think anybody’s suggesting you have a ceasefire and then you just turn your back on the situation and go back to the status quo – nobody is thinking that that’s remotely possible, and it certainly isn’t desirable.”

The Green MP also argued that what is needed in terms of resolution is a political process, saying: “This horror that is unfolding and has unfolded, both in Israel and in Gaza, is not going to be solved by more bullets and bombs – it will be solved through a political process”.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Socialist Appeal – Creative Commons

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