Keir Starmer

Mish Rahman – a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) – has launched a campaign intended to pressure the Labour leader Keir Starmer to support a ceasefire in Gaza.

Rahman’s campaign – titled ‘Labour for a Ceasefire Now’ – intends to compile support from grassroots Labour party members as well as from throughout the Labour movement and the British public to gather signatures to demand Labour backs a ceasefire.

It comes ahead of crucial votes in parliament on the issue around the King’s speech. Labour is reportedly planning to whip its MPs to abstain on a vote calling for a ceasefire tabled by the SNP.

The UN, the World Health Organisation and the French President Emmanuel Macron are among those to call for a ceasefire.

18 shadow ministers have also backed a ceasefire, with Imran Hussain becoming the first to resign over the Labour Leadership’s continued support for Israel’s war. More than 300 Labour councillors have publicly demanded a ceasefire, with around 50 having left the party over the Labour leadership’s stance on the issue.

In total, more than a third of Labour MPs have called for a ceasefire. The Scottish Labour leader Anas Sawar and Labour mayors Sadiq Khan, Tracy Brabin and Andy Burnham are among those to have added their voice to the calls for a ceasefire.

Rahman said: ‘The scenes we are seeing in Gaza right now are absolutely heartbreaking – and indefensible.

“One crime must not be answered with another. As a progressive party, Labour must be clear: every human life is precious, Israeli and Palestinian. It is not a viable position for us to back the Conservative Government’s position and oppose a ceasefire when the World Health Organisation is warning of Gaza’s hospitals being turned into cemeteries. Peace can only be made when there is an intention and a will for it. With more than 10,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza, among them several thousand children, Labour should be leading the charge for a ceasefire.”

People can add their names to Rahman’s call here.

Image credit: Chatham House – Creative Commons