Keir Starmer says ceasefire in Gaza isn’t ‘correct position’
Barry Gardiner has become the latest Labour MP to speak out against Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on Gaza.
The Labour leader is coming under increasing pressure from within his party over his backing of a humanitarian pause rather than a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Mr Gardiner, who represents Brent North, today insisted Sir Keir should take “moral leadership”.
He told media outlet Joe: “My difference with Keir on this is he says a ceasefire leaves the situation frozen, he says it freezes the situation as it was, it doesn’t move things forward.
“Actually that’s precisely what a humanitarian pause does. A humanitarian pause freezes the situation and allows people to get something to eat, allows them to get supplies in but then we just resume the conflict.
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“I feel that’s a counsel of despair and I don’t think that’s our job as politicians.
“I think we have to put on international pressure both on the government of Israel and on Hamas to actually engage in a ceasefire.
“Now ceasefires only come with huge international pressure building up behind them and so far apart from the Secretary-General of the United Nations and all the major aid agencies it hasn’t come from a political source.
“I recognise it’s difficult to move when Joe Biden and the Americans haven’t moved.
“But actually that’s one of the luxuries of opposition, you can take moral leadership in a situation like this.
“Because a ceasefire can be really helpful in moving things forward and that’s what I really think our party needs to grasp.”
Mr Gardiner’s intervention comes as a series of shadow ministers have been in open revolt over Sir Keir’s position on the Israel-Hamas war. London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham have also spoken out.
The Labour leader has urged for a humanitarian pause to allow aid into Gaza rather than a permanent end to the fighting.
In a speech in London on Tuesday, he defended his position amid major pressure from within his party.
Sir Keir said: “A ceasefire always freezes any conflict in the state where it currently lies. And, as we speak, that would leave Hamas with the infrastructure and the capabilities to carry out the sort of attack we saw on October 7.
“Attacks that are still ongoing. Hostages who should be released still held.
“Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately.”
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