“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.
Labour’s Shadow Minister Imran Hussain has quit the front bench over the party’s position on Gaza.
Hussain, who was the shadow minister for the New Deal for Working People, said that he was stepping down over his desire to ‘strongly advocate for a ceasefire’ in Gaza. It comes as the Palestinian health authorities said the death toll from Israeli strikes had exceeded 10,000, with the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, warning that the Gaza Strip is becoming “a graveyard for children” as he called again for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to allow aid into the embattled territory.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has so far resisted calls for a ceasefire from within his own party, including from members of his shadow cabinet as well as from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham. The Labour leader said that the terrorist group Hamas would be “emboldened” by a ceasefire, four weeks after it killed 1,400 people in Israel.
Announcing his resignation on X, formerly Twitter, Hussain wrote in his letter: “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.
“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.”
He added that 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’.
The Bradford East MP also said he had been ‘deeply troubled’ by Starmer’s comments during an LBC interview on 11 October where said his party leader appeared to endorse Israel cutting off water and power to the Gaza Strip. While Starmer has since clarified his remarks, denying he had suggested withholding supplies was appropriate, saying that Israel had a “right to self-defence”, but that did not mean it should withhold humanitarian aid to Gaza, which is home to 2.2 million civilians. Hussain said in his letter that he believes the party “needs to go further and call for a ceasefire”.
“I have unequivocally condemned Hamas’s attacks of 7 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,” Hussain wrote.