Oxfam Rips UK Parliament for ‘Squabbling’ Over Cease-Fire as Israel Pummels Gaza

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Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators hold a protest in Parliament Square in London on February 21, 2024.  (Photo: Henry Nicholls/AFP via Getty Images)

“It is a disgrace that there has been so much playground politics in Parliament this evening, while so many lives are at stake.”

What was supposed to be a debate over a motion demanding an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip quickly descended into mayhem and partisan bickering on Wednesday as members of the U.K. Parliament jockeyed for position—all while Israel continued dropping bombs on starving Palestinians.

Wednesday’s debate was started by the Scottish National Party (SNP), which introduced a motion calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the release of all hostages, and “an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

The Conservative and Labour parties both put forth amendments aimed at watering down the SNP motion. House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle moved to allow a vote on all three motions, angering Tories who said the decision violated convention.

Ultimately, as The Associated Press reported, “many Conservatives and SNP members walked out, and in their absence the Labour version of the cease-fire call passed on a voice vote—by calls of ‘Aye’—without a full formal vote.” The Labour amendment dropped the SNP motion’s call for an end to collective punishment.

Diane Abbott, an MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said she entered Parliament on Wednesday to support the SNP motion, which she called “the only genuinely meant cease-fire motion on the order paper.”

“Instead things descended into a shambles,” said Abbott. “Meanwhile Israel’s military continues to kill 250 Palestinians a day.”

Jeremy Corbyn, an independent MP for Islington North and the former leader of the Labour Party, wrote Thursday that “yesterday was an appalling day for British Parliament.

“It was much, much worse for the people of Gaza, who are dying slowly and painfully from dehydration, disease, and starvation,” Corbyn added. “We must end this systematic slaughter—the existence of the Palestinian people is at stake.”

“An immediate and permanent cease-fire is the only solution to stop this devastating cycle of bloodshed.”

Oxfam GB’s head of advocacy, Katy Chakrabortty, also voiced outrage over Wednesday’s proceedings, saying in a statement, “It is a disgrace that there has been so much playground politics in Parliament this evening, while so many lives are at stake.”

“The people of Gaza can’t wait for our politicians to stop squabbling,” said Chakrabortty. “Much of the country lies in ruins and Rafah, where many Palestinian families have been forced to flee, is under threat of a full-scale military offensive. Children in the North of Gaza are dying from hunger because no aid can reach them due to Israel’s continued assault and restrictions on access.”

“An immediate and permanent cease-fire is the only solution to stop this devastating cycle of bloodshed, to ensure the safe release of hostages, and to allow urgent aid to reach all of those in desperate need,” Chakrabortty continued. “Many MPs spoke passionately tonight of the horrors in Gaza and we thank those who raised their voices. The government must listen and support U.N. votes for a cease-fire and end the sale of arms to Israel.”

Citing unnamed sources, The Guardian on Wednesday reported that the U.K.’s Tory government “will consider suspending arms export licenses to Israel” if the country’s military goes ahead with a ground invasion of Rafah, a severely overcrowded city near Gaza’s border with Egypt.

The U.K. has licensed more than £474 million worth of military exports to Israel over the past decade, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In December, HRW and other rights groups warned that “the U.K. risks being complicit in and facilitating serious violations of international humanitarian law if it fails to halt arms exports to Israel immediately.”

“Our organizations demand an immediate suspension of arms transfers to all parties to the current conflict,” the groups wrote in a joint letter. “For the U.K. government, this requires a halt to the arming of Israel. Failure to do so risks the government breaching its own laws and being complicit in grave abuses.”

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

dizzy: While this is a very good account of what happened, I’m going to emphasize some extra issues. While the Speaker is supposed to be impartial he is acually an MP, currently a Labour MP. Labour Leader Keir Starmer acted improperly by effectively ‘lobbying’ the Speaker in person yesterday. Starmer has said that he didn’t threaten or impose pressure on the Speaker. I suggest that lobbying him in any way is out of order. The Speaker claims that he was concerned for MPs safety, that they are getting confronted by their constituents.

The winner from yesterday’s events is Keir Starmer since huge numbers – perhaps a hundred – of Labour MPs were expected to vote for the SNP’s motion against their party’s instruction. I consider that the Speaker should not be concerned with MPs’ safety and that they should be expected to be confronted by their constituents. The point here is that if you don’t want to be accused of complicity in genocide don’t be complicit in genocide.

24/2/24 I’ve used the wrong term ‘lobbying’. MPs are whipped by their own parties to follow their party’s chosen course of action.

Zionist Keir Starmer supports Israel's Gaza genocide.
Zionist Keir Starmer supports Israel’s Gaza genocide.

22/2/24 10pm How Keir Starmer placed his political image over the lives of those in Gaza

Continue ReadingOxfam Rips UK Parliament for ‘Squabbling’ Over Cease-Fire as Israel Pummels Gaza

Skwawkbox exclusive: smeared ex-Lab member Siddiqi ‘planning to stand vs Streeting’

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Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use.

Victim of repeated smears and even a discredited prosecution is planning a bid at the next Ilford North parliamentary election, say locals

Syed Siddiqi, the former Labour member repeatedly abused, harassed and smeared by right-wing Labour figures in Ilford in north London, is planning to stand against right-winger Wes Streeting in the next Ilford North parliamentary election, according to local sources.

Siddiqi has faced constant harassment by the party right, including a failed attempt to prosecute him that ended in all charges being dropped – reminiscent of the disgraced hatchet job against neighbouring left-wing Muslim MP Apsana Begum.

The party’s hounding of Siddiqi even went as low as suspending him for more than three years after he was the victim of a foul, late-night Islamophobic tirade by a local right-winger, despite the whole incident being recorded. His abuser was quickly reinstated so that he could stand for Labour in local elections.

Siddiqi was revealed to have been targeted by Streeting’s office and others, by the leaked party report into abuse by the party right:

Labour has a long and appalling record of Islamophobia and of protecting abusive right-wingers. Local council leader Jas Athwal was selected as the party’s candidate in Ilford South, after complaints of ‘serious sexual assault’ were dismissed by a committee of Labour national executive members – against the advice of the party’s barrister. He won the selection vote when six hundred postal votes ‘turned up’ late in proceedings, while supporters of his opponent, incumbent MP Sam Tarry, were denied entry to the selection meeting. Labour general secretary David Evans dismissed the evidence as ‘irrelevant to the result.

The party has reason to fear the challenge. Last year, Lutfur Rahman ousted Labour to win the executive mayor’s position in nearby Tower Hamlets last year and voters there kicked out Labour at the last local elections in a landslide for Rahman’s new Aspire party. In neighbouring East End borough Newham, Newham Independents leader Mehmood Mirza hammered an imposed Labour candidate in May – and his colleague Sophia Naqvi then trounced Labour in November’s by-election in Newham Plaistow North.

With discontent spreading in the area and Black councillor Shanell Johnson quitting Labour in Redbridge, which covers both Ilford seats, in disgust at the local and national party’s conduct, few would be surprised to see similar developments threatening Labour’s complacency there too; particularly with an incumbent MP as dislikeable as Streeting, Starmer’s pro-privatisation health spokesman who has accepted donations from private health interests and who triggered protests outside his office – and a boycott by students – for his part in Starmer’s support for Israeli war crimes.

In 2018, Streeting also launched a ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’ tirade in the face of Diane Abbott, Britain’s first Black woman MP, leaving Abbott ‘shell-shocked’. If he stands, Syed Siddiqi can expect considerable support from outraged former Labour supporters around the country who would be delighted to see Streeting ejected.

Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use.

Continue ReadingSkwawkbox exclusive: smeared ex-Lab member Siddiqi ‘planning to stand vs Streeting’

Abbott vows to fight back after Labour’s ‘fraudulent’ investigation

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Union leaders and MPs demand justice for first black woman MP

Image of Dianne Abbot
Dianne Abbot MP

DIANE ABBOTT has called on Sir Keir Starmer to prove his commitment to fighting anti-black racism amid growing anger over Labour’s “fraudulent” investigation into the left-wing MP.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, TUC president Matt Wrack and scores of socialist MPs and activists have joined the campaign to restore Britain’s first black female MP’s Labour whip.

Speaking to the Morning Star, Ms Abbott said: “I appreciate the support. But this is all about much more than me.

“The issues are Labour Party democracy and the leadership’s commitment to recognising and fighting anti-black racism.”

Labour faces increasing pressure to conclude its investigation into the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP’s comments about racism after she branded the process “fraudulent” in a statement earlier this week.


Continue ReadingAbbott vows to fight back after Labour’s ‘fraudulent’ investigation

Diane Abbott received half of all abusive tweets sent to women MPs

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Image of Dianne Abbot

by Emma Bean

The shadow home secretary experienced the vast majority of online abuse sent to women MPs, and had 10 times more abusive tweets sent to her than any other figure in the run up to the election. She also suffered eight times more abuse in the whole six month period which was analysed.

The research, conducted by Amnesty International, looked at messages sent in the period between January 1 and June 8. In this time she received almost a third of all the abuse directed at women political figures.

The list of the five female politicians who received the most abuse included two other Labour MPs, with Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, and Jess Phillips, chair of the women’s PLP, coming in third and fourth respectively. Joanna Cherry, SNP MP, got the second most abuse and Anna Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe and a prominent Europhile, being placed fifth in the ranking.

However, Abbott’s level of abuse far outstrips those mentioned, with the trailblazing Hackney North MP receiving 31.6 per cent of abusive tweets, and the rest of the top five getting nearer three per cent of abusive tweets. She also received more abusive tweets than all the women in the SNP and Conservative party combined in the six month period.

Ethnic minority women politicians, excluding Abbott, received 35 per cent more abuse than white women. Some 5.8 per cent of all tweets sent mentioning Abbott’s twitter handle were classified as abusive.

The report found that “intersectional discrimination” meant that a figure who had more than one identity, e.g. if LGBT, BAME or disabled, meant that they were then more likely to face abuse.

In a New Statesman article describing the report, Amnesty’s researcher in technology and human rights Azmina Dhrodia writes: “Diane Abbott standing out in our analysis is an acute example of how intersectional discrimination works. The abuse that she faces is not just sexist and misogynistic; it’s also incredibly racist.”

“Nearly 90 years after women won the right to vote, there is a real danger that the high levels of online abuse against women MPs will have a chilling effect on women taking part in public life  —  particularly women of colour. This is not only detrimental in terms of the possible long-term effect on the representation of women in politics in the UK but also continues to deepen societal inequality between genders.”


Continue ReadingDiane Abbott received half of all abusive tweets sent to women MPs