Divisions in the British Conservative Party have been so frequent since Brexit that they no longer surprise many people at Westminster. On the other hand, fractures within Labour, the leading opposition party, had become rare since Keir Starmer took control of the British left at the start of 2020, after the chaotic Corbyn years. But on Wednesday, November 15, they reappeared in the open, after 56 Labor MPs (out of a total of 198 in the House of Commons) defied party discipline by voting to demand a “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza, while Keir Starmer only calls for “humanitarian breaks”.
Among these rebellious Labor MPs, who were to vote like the rest of the House of Commons on an amendment calling for a ceasefire tabled by the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), were eight members of the “shadow cabinet”, Mr Starmer’s “shadow government”. They had to immediately resign from their positions for overriding the authority of their leader, even though the SNP amendment was not adopted (lacking Tory support). They are therefore giving up a probable ministerial career, with Labor having a good chance of coming out on top in the general election in 2024.
Known for her long fight against domestic violence, responsible for this subject within the “shadow cabinet”, Jess Phillips is one of the most prominent Labor MPs to have renounced her responsibilities alongside Mr. Starmer. “I voted on the side of my heart, my head and the residents of my constituency”said the MP from Birmingham, the capital of the West Midlands (a city with a large Muslim population). “I see no way out of the current military action, it endangers any hope of peace and security in the region (in the Middle-East) »added Mme Phillips.
“On October 7, Israel experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history, no government would allow such an attack to happen again. But since then, we have witnessed an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza. At all times of this crisis, my approach has been to respond to these two tragedies,” explained Mr. Starmer, regretting the choice of the rebels and trying to justify his own. The opposition leader believes a ceasefire would freeze the conflict between Israel and Hamas and allow the terrorist group to rebuild its forces.
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