Image above: Brentford & Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury; Ealing Central & Acton MP Rupa Huq; Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter
Labour MPs ordered to abstain – 56 rebelled
West London MPs Rupa Huq and Andy Slaughter defied the Labour whip and voted for an SNP amendment calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war on Wednesday night (15 November). Ruth Cadbury, who is a Quaker, abstained. The final vote was 125 in favour and 294 against.
In the debate on the King’s Speech Rupa and Andy were among 56 Labour MPs who voted for the ceasefire amendment, the most prominent of whom was Jess Phillips, who has stood down from the shadow front bench, quitting her role as Shadow Domestic Violence minister.
Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer had made it clear before the vote that MPs holding a frontbench position would be sacked if they backed the ceasefire call. Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter was the Shadow Solicitor General, deputy to the Shadow Attorney General until the vote, but has since resigned.
Sir Keir said: “I regret that some colleagues felt unable to support the position tonight. But I wanted to be clear about where I stood, and where I will stand”.
His position is that a ceasefire would not be appropriate, because it would freeze the conflict and embolden Hamas. Instead, Labour, like the Conservative government, the United States and the European Union, is calling for “humanitarian pauses” to help aid reach Gaza.
Chiswick falls partly in Ruth Cadbury’s constituency of Brentford & Isleworth, partly in Rupa Huq’s constituency of Ealing Central and Acton and after the next election will be part of the new Hammersmith & Chiswick constituency. Ruth Cadbury is Shadow Minister for Prisons, Parole and Probation.
“We can’t go on like this”
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday (15 November), Dr. Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton said:
“The new Foreign Secretary called Gaza an open-air prison during peacetime, and while we all stood with Israel on October 7, what are the limits of self defence? A population forcibly displaced by donkey because there’s no fuel, communications blackouts.
“And when will the UK join France, Spain, the UN and all the agencies in advocating for a cessation of hostilities, because we can’t go on like this 20 hours a day.”
She later added on X (formerly Twitter):
‘Enough is enough. We need hostages home and the killing to stop. I called for a cessation of hostilities in the Gaza war in the House of Commons and will be voting accordingly tonight. #ceasefirevote #CeasefireNOW‘
Image above: Ruth Cadbury speaking in Parliament, 15 December
Ruth Cadbury explains her stance on Israel / Gaza
Ruth has posted on her website an explanation of why she abstained from voting on the SNP amendment and why she voted for another amendment (which was not passed either).
‘Over the past weeks I have received hundreds of emails from constituents about the horror unfolding in Gaza, and across Israel the West Bank and East Jerusalem’ she wrote.
‘I have listened to people locally during school visits, community events and meetings with religious leaders including with leaders from Hounslow’s mosques. From the many conversations I’ve had I know that everyone shares my abhorrence at the violence that we have seen over the recent weeks.
‘Having spent a lot of time reflecting on the situation since October 7, met many colleagues and those involved, including the Palestinian representative in the UK, I looked carefully at the tabled amendments to the Kings Speech and to the debate on the amendments.
‘On Wednesday 15 November I voted for Amendment R to the King’s Speech as it most closely reflected my views and my thinking, and how best I believe we should approach the horrific conflict that we have seen.’
‘Amendment R’ – Labour’s amendment to the King’s Speech – condemned the terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas and called for the return of the hostages; it called for Israel to follow international law, to protect hospitals and to lift the siege conditions to allow food, water, fuel, electricity and medicine into Gaza, but it stopped short of calling for a ceasefire.
It also called for an end to the expansion of illegal settlements and settler violence in the occupied West Bank.
‘I know that a large number of constituents asked me to support another amendment which I did not oppose’, wrote Ruth. ‘As an opposition and Government-in-waiting I believe we have a duty to find a credible and sustainable approach which addresses these complex international issues.’
She finishes her message to constituents with this:
‘The events in Gaza and the ongoing attacks on civilians, the disproportionality of attacks, and the impact particularly on children, have been horrific to witness. I want to assure you that as your MP I will continue to campaign for the Government to do so much more on this issue.’
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