Hounslow councillor resigns over Labour’s stance on Israel – Hamas war

Image above: Councillor Lara Parizotto

Councillor Lara Parizotto says the Labour Party is no longer aligned with her values

Hounslow councillor Lara Parizotto has resigned from the Labour party because she says it is no longer aligned with her values on racial justice; specifically she says Labour councillors were advised not to take part in the March for Palestine at the weekend, and she no longer feels she can support the Labour Party as a result.

The Brentford West Councillor has been a member of the party since she was 18 years old and is the third youngest councillor in Hounslow. She was elected in May 2022 to represent Brentford West alongside veteran councillor Guy Lambert.

In her resignation letter she says:

‘Today I cannot represent the Labour Party. I find my values and my work on racial justice, migrants rights, allyship with queer and trans people, decolonisation and global liberation movements of oppressed people unaligned with the Party.’ 

Councillor Parizotto attended a protest in Liverpool City Centre on Saturday (14 October), where hundreds of people gathered in a ‘March for Palestine.’

According to the Reuters news agency thousands of people took part in demonstrations in London and Manchester as well as Liverpool, calling for an end to Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip, which was triggered by the killing spree in Israel by Hamas militants the previous weekend.

The marches passed off peacefully with just a handful of arrests. Many on the marches waved Palestinian flags and carried ‘Free Palestine’ placards, in reference to the conditions in which Palestinians have lived for decades, dependent on food aid from the UN and without freedom of movement beyond the Palestinian territories.

Image above: At the Pro Palestine march at the weekend

Many in the Labour Party unhappy with Leader Keir Starmer’s position

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer caused fury within parts of the Labour party when at the party’s annual conference he told  LBC radio that Israel ‘had a right to defend itself’. He appeared to say that Israel had the right to cut off power and water to Gaza.

In the widely shared clip, he was asked what a “proportionate” response would look like, to which Sir Keir replied that responsibility “lies with Hamas” and that Israel “has the right to defend herself”.

Presenter Nick Ferrari interjected: “A siege is appropriate? Cutting off power, cutting off water?”

The Labour leader replied: “I think that Israel does have that right. It is an ongoing situation.”

In this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions he also said:

“Medicines, food, fuel and water must get into Gaza immediately” because “innocent Palestinians need to know that the world is not just simply watching but acting to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe”.

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip estimated on Monday (16 October) than the number of people killed in 11 days of Israeli bombardment and air strikes had reached 3,000 while 12,500 people have been injured.

Israel says 1,400 Israelis were killed by Hamas, and at least 199 others, including children, were kidnapped and taken into Gaza.

Cllr Parizotto’s statement in full

Councillor Parizotto’s full statement reads:

‘I have today resigned from the Labour Party.

‘I will continue my role as an independent councillor in Brentford West. I assure residents my work will still remain the same and any ongoing or new casework can and will still be addressed. I’m proud of the results achieved locally through relationships built with residents, councillors, and local groups.

‘I joined the Labour Party in 2015. As an 18 year old, having just arrived from Brazil, working as a cleaner, living in precarious accommodation, I needed a Labour Government. I am proud of the work I did throughout the years with colleagues, friends, and fantastic candidates improving the lives of people from communities like mine and I look forward to more of these achievements.

‘Today, I cannot represent the Labour Party. I find my values and my work on racial justice, migrants rights, allyship with queer and trans people, decolonisation and global liberation movements of oppressed people unaligned with the Party. This is in no way a reflection on individual Party members.

‘Over the weekend I attended a demonstration in solidarity with Palestine, and against apartheid and occupation, which Labour councillors were advised not to attend. I cannot call out the UK Government for restricting our rights to protest without standing up for the same right on this occasion.

‘I stand as an ally to those facing any form of racism and have unequivocally done so in the past, from Black Lives Matter marches to demonstrations calling on the Labour Party to tackle antisemitism. 

‘I grieve for the thousands killed and wounded in Palestine and Israel, and the painful impact it’s had on Muslim and Jewish communities globally. Now more than ever we need to be vigilant and address the spike of Islamophobia and antisemitism we are seeing in the UK and globally. I am available to any resident who might be a victim of hatred and is looking for support.

‘My work and values will remain unapologetically pro-migrant, anti-racist, decolonial, and intersectional. At present, I feel unable to stand by my principles as a member of the Labour Party. ‘ 

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