In the latest blow to Sir Keir Starmer‘s bid for unity at the top of his party, Jess Phillips questioned how the killing of civilians would lead to long-term security for Israelis.
The shadow minister directly challenged the notion that Israel is defending itself by going after Hamas for its October 7 atrocity.
‘I personally don’t see killing hundreds, and what will turn out to be tens of thousands of people, within a few short weeks, as a military objective that leads to any sort of long-term status of security for Israeli people,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s World At One.
‘I maintain there has got to be peaceful political solutions negotiated to try and bring an end to the killing.’ Ms Phillips is among 16 Labour frontbenchers who are at loggerheads with Sir Keir, who refuses to heed their calls to back a ceasefire.
Jess Phillips shadow domestic violence minister, retweeted United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres’s appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on October 28
Afzal Khan shadow exports minister, said on Monday: ‘We urgently need a ceasefire and opening of humanitarian corridors to stop further loss of life.’
Alex Cunningham justice spokesman (pictured left) and Tan Dhesi shadow treasury minister (pictured right)
Yasmin Qureshi shadow equalities minister (pictured left) and Rushanara Ali shadow minister for investment (pictured right)
Imran Hussain shadow minister for the new deal for working people, signed a document on October 26 calling for de-escalation and an end to hostilities
The Labour leader has instead backed a humanitarian ‘pause’ in fighting, and remains supportive of Israel’s ‘right to self-defence’.
Ms Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, became emotional during the BBC interview as she discussed her efforts to help secure the release of some of her constituents from Gaza.
‘I cannot turn a blind eye, and I will not turn a blind eye to thousands, and potentially my own constituents, who are currently running out of water, being collateral damage,’ she said.
‘It would be wrong of me to consider that, so I continue to push for political solutions. I don’t see where the military solution ends other than in death and destruction.’
She argued ‘whether we call it a ceasefire or whether we call it a pause… has become semantics, because it isn’t happening’.
About a quarter of Labour MPs have publicly called for a ceasefire – including 16 frontbenchers.
Rebels include shadow ministers Alex Cunningham, Yasmin Qureshi and Imran Hussain.
Andy Slaughter shadow solicitor general, retweeted a Labour Friends of Palestine statement calling for a ceasefire in the territory on October 27
Kim Leadbeater opposition whip (pictured left) and Rachel Hopkins shadow minister for veterans (pictured right)
The Labour leader sought to address the row engulfing his party earlier this week with a speech explaining why he would not call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
Sir Keir said he recognised he has to address ‘collective responsibility’ – the principle that his shadow ministers must adopt a unified position – but he has not sacked any rebels.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves stood by Sir Keir’s position yesterday.
She said: ‘Like everybody, Labour colleagues and communities around the country are desperately concerned about what is unfolding in Gaza.
‘But Keir was very clear in his speech… that the best and the quickest way to get food, to get medicine, fuel, to get water into Gaza and to get the people who are able to get out is through humanitarian pauses.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk