Labor frontmen who rebelled against Sir Keir Starmer’s position on Israel will not be sacked despite publicly defying their leader, a shadow minister suggested today.
Peter Kyle, the shadow science secretary, claimed party bosses were “continuing to work with a growing number of rebels” as he signaled they would not be disciplined.
The Labor Party has been in turmoil over its response to Israel’s war on Hamas following the terrorist group’s October 7 attacks.
Sir Keir has called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting to allow aid to be delivered to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, a stance that has been taken by both the government and the US.
But the Labor leader has continued to support Israel’s right to defend itself in the wake of the terror attacks.
He now faces open opposition from senior party members who are calling for a full ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Sir Keir Starmer is facing open opposition from senior Labor members who are calling for a full ceasefire between Israel and Hamas
Peter Kyle, the shadow science secretary, claimed party bosses were “continuing to work with a growing number of rebels” as he signaled they would not be disciplined
A number of shadow ministers – including Afzal Khan and Sarah Owen – have parted ways with Sir Keir in recent days to voice their support for a ceasefire in Gaza
A number of shadow ministers have parted ways with Sir Keir in recent days to express their support for a ceasefire in Gaza.
These include Naz Shah, Paula Barker, Afzal Khan, Rachel Hopkins, Jess Phillips and Sarah Owen.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar are also calling for a ceasefire, while a number of local councilors have quit the Labor party in protest at Sir Keir’s stance.
Asked whether those who spoke out against Sir Keir should be sacked, Mr Kyle raised his hands to signal he didn’t know.
However, he also pointed out that the Labor leadership was unlikely to take action against the rebels.
He told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “Well, I guess what we will do is continue to work with them.”
Asked about the heated debate within the Labor Party, Mr Kyle added: “I think the fact that we are having a lively debate within our party reflects how we are doing as a country and how we are doing as a whole world at the moment a strength reflected.” .
“Because we have a leader who has channeled that and translated it into policies that are consistent with all of our international partners.”
The shadow minister also appeared to suggest that the difference between calling for a humanitarian pause and an outright ceasefire was “debatable”.
“The people are calling for a ceasefire, we are calling for a pause,” he said. “We can dance on the head of a needle about the nature of a truce.”
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Kyle had previously suggested that Labor had not considered whether its stance on the Middle East conflict would see it lose or win the support of different groups of voters.
Speaking on the channel’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, he was asked whether Labor was trying to win back Jewish voters after the party’s anti-Semitism crisis, while at the same time taking Muslim voters for granted.
Mr. Kyle replied: “We are not thinking, ‘How do we win votes?’ or what votes will we lose at a time when war and conflict lie ahead and human tragedy is occurring on a scale that we have not seen in a long time have.
“Two truths unfold here.” The first is that in a democratic society like ours, everyone has the legitimate right to advocate for two sovereign solutions within the area, the territory we are talking about.
“There is also a right and a wrong.” What Hamas did was wrong and we stand with Israel to defend itself within the framework of international law.
“Both of those things can happen if we do it right.”