Mon, 24 June 2024

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Conservative Peer Says Keir Starmer Is Too Weak To Challenge Frontbench Gaza Crisis Critics

Keir Starmer (Alamy)

3 min read

Labour leader Keir Starmer is so weakened by his handling of the Gaza conflict Labour frontbench critics are better off fighting from within, Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi has said.

Baroness Warsi has been advising politicians, both Labour and Tory, not to resign over the issue. 

“I have had so many parliamentarians from all political parties who have rang up and said, ‘I’m going to resign, I know how you felt’, said the peer, Britain’s first Muslim to attend Cabinet, who resigned from David Cameron’s government over its handling of the 2014 Israel Gaza conflict," she told the i newspaper.

“I’m urging them ‘Don’t do as I did do as I say. These are different times. You have to stay to influence and fight for change.

“Certainly if you look at the Labour Party, Keir [Starmer] is so weakened now, my view is why would you resign if you can just say what you believe without getting sacked.”

She says Starmer has “made a hash” of his response. “It’s whatever the government say, I’ll say yes to that.”

“He now looks incredibly weak because people are literally coming out and saying ‘Well that might be the leader’s view but it’s not our view’. He’s not only not taken a principled position, he's undermined his own leadership.”

She acknowledged that Starmer is operating in the context of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to root out antisemitism, but that her own party’s history of Islamophobia hadn't caused it to “overcompensate” in the other direction.

The Tories are in danger of following the US Republicans into a world in which ‘you can talk all sorts of rubbish and not back it up with evidence’, she added. “We are presiding over a period in which public finances aren’t under control and things don’t work. How did we become the party that broke Britain?”

She ruled out defecting, however. “I couldn’t be in the Labour Party, that’s what breaks my heart. I feel like I’m in this toxic abusive relationship and yet somehow I keep hoping that they’ll change.”

Baroness Warsi said she didn’t regret her own resignation. “All of the things I was warning about in my resignation letter we are seeing. You can bomb and bomb and bomb Palestine – and Israel has been for decades and decades. It doesn’t achieve any more security. After all of that bombing and occupation we still have the worst killing of Jews in Israel – it hasn’t worked.

“When we say we stand for Israel, which Israel is that? The liberal, decent, human-rights loving, anti-Netanyahu Israel? I stand for that Israel but if we are standing for a prime minister who is mired in allegations of corruption who has a self-confessed fascist in his government, a security minister who has a conviction for terrorism and racial hatred, is that the Israel we stand for? I don’t think so.”

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