Keir Starmer faces fresh calls to sack MPs calling for ceasefire in Gaza after Tory MP fired over comments | The Sun
SIR Keir Starmer came under fresh pressure today after a Tory MP was fired from his government role for calling for a ceasefire in Israel.
Peterborough MP and parliamentary private secretary Paul Bristow wrote to Rishi Sunak last week urging a “permanent” end to hostilities.
After being fired by the PM he told The Sun: "It was absolutely the right decision for the PM to fire me – I obviously regret being sacked.
"But I have many thousands of constituents who feel very strongly about this issue and feel I can better represent their views from the backbenches than the government payroll.”
In his letter to the PM, Mr Bristow said: “I struggle to see how Israel is any safer following thousands of deaths of innocent Palestinians.
"They should not suffer collective punishment for the crimes of Hamas.
"We need a ceasefire.”
Census data from 2021 shows Peterborough has a Muslim population of 12.2 percent, while the overall British Muslim population sits at 6.5 percent.
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Hours after Mr Bristow's comments were revealed in The Telegraph, a spokesperson for No10 confirmed: "Paul Bristow has been asked to leave his post in government following comments that were not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility".
The move ramped up pressure on Sir Keir to discipline the dozens of Labour MPs who have defied the party line to similarly call for a ceasefire.
Last night Corbynista backbencher Andy McDonald was slammed for using the incendiary “between the river and the sea” cry at a pro-Palestine rally this weekend.
And veteran leftie John McDonell sparked fury for defending him – while suggesting Israel should have reacted to Hamas’ ghoulish attacks with “negotiation”.
Labour has plunged into infighting following Sir Keir’s refusal to back a flat-out ceasefire and instead calling for a “humanitarian pause”.
His position has been defied by a quarter of his MPs – including several shadow ministers – as well as Mayors Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham, and Scots leader Anas Sarwar.
Top Starmer ally Mr Kyle yesterday indicated frontbench rebels would not be sacked and played down the conflicting stances as “dancing on the head of a pin”.
But Tory MP Robert Largan blasted: “If Starmer does become PM, the country needs to know if he will be running things or if the Hamas appeasers in his party are actually in charge.”
Senior Tory MP Simon Clarke lashed out: “We all know the connotations of the phrase ‘between the river and the sea’.
“Andy McDonald knows exactly what he is doing by saying ‘Israelis and Palestinians’. He’s tiptoeing up to the line, and daring Labour to respond. Keir Starmer should.”
Ex-shadow chancellor Mr McDonnell insisted the chant had been “misrepresented” and was “actually a phrase about how people can live together”.
Yet he provoked incredulity for saying Hamas’ appalling invasion should have triggered “negotiation” rather than a “large-scale attack” from Israel.
Mr Largan accused the Labour veteran of “deliberate trolling of the Jewish community”- adding: “He is openly daring Starmer to remove the whip”.
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Former Labour MP Lord Walney said: “If Labour tries to downplay scale of internal disagreement by saying a pause and a ceasefire are close to the same thing anyway, that itself would be a big weakening of the party’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself against the antisemitic horror unleashed on it.”
Today shadow foreign secretary David Lammy will begin a three-day visit to the Middle East to call for a humanitarian pause to let aid get into Gaza.
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