In a recent parliamentary showdown that took place on Wednesday, 56 Labour MPs voted for a ceasefire in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, defying the orders of their party leader, Keir Starmer, who has refused to call for an end to the ongoing genocide taking place in Palestine. 
The breaking of party ranks by nearly a third of Labour’s 198 MPs is indicative of growing opposition over Starmer’s despicable position on the collective punishment of Gaza.
The vote came after the Scottish National Party (SNP) introduced a legislative proposal urging the UK to join the international community in calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Despite not being passed, the amendment garnered significant support from the left-wing faction of Labour. 
Growing internal dissent
Starmer’s alignment with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in advocating for “humanitarian pauses” rather than a comprehensive ceasefire, has sparked dissent within Labour’s ranks.
Starmer himself voted to abstain, rather than vote against the motion. 
The internal divisions were highlighted by the resignation of Jess Phillips, a member of the Labour top brass, who supported the call for a ceasefire.
Phillips stepped down from her role as Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding.
These developments are proving to be a significant thorn for Starmer as he aims to present a unified front ahead of upcoming elections, where Labour is currently leading in polls.
Phillips, the Member for Birmingham Yardley, said in an X post,
“I must vote with my constituents, my head, and my heart which has felt as if it were breaking over the last four weeks with the horror of the situation in Israel and Palestine.
“I can see no route where the current military action does anything but put at risk the hope of peace and security for anyone in the region, now and in the future.” 
The Shadow Equalities Minister prior to the vote, Yasmin Qureshi, described the horrific bloodshed in Gaza as uncharted territory.
The MP for Bolton South East declared her intention to back the motion calling for a ceasefire.
“The scale of bloodshed is unprecedented.
“Over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in a month. The UN warned that Gaza has become a ‘graveyard for children’, as 4,609 of those killed were children.
“According to Save the Children, this figure surpasses the total number of children killed across the world’s conflict zones since 2019. This is a hideous stain on our common humanity.” 
More opposition voices
Other prominent resignations from the Labour frontbench include Afzal Khan, former Shadow Justice Minister, and Paula Barker, former Shadow Devolution Minister. 
Last week, Imran Hussein resigned his position as a shadow minister to advocate freely for a ceasefire. 
Muslim MPs condemned for backing Starmer
Despite growing dissent against Starmer’s refusal to back a ceasefire, a number of Muslim Labour MPs obeyed the party line by either voting against the ceasefire motion or abstaining altogether.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green, did not vote for a ceasefire. 
In response to her failure to call for an end to the killings in Gaza by occupation forces, many demonstrators gathered outside her constituency office to express their anger.
“Rushanara Ali, shame on you!” 
In addition, they held up placards that read,
“Not my MP. Blood on your hands.” 
Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, abstained from the vote.
Similarly, Shabana Mahmood, the Member for Birmingham Ladywood, abstained.
Muslim communities across the UK have criticised Muslim MPs for either voting against the motion or abstaining.
An Imam shared his thoughts with the Independent,
“For us not to have an aching heart and an emotional drive about what we see as blatant human rights violations against people being shredded to pieces across our screens, it’s like they’re not human beings, it’s impossible.
“There would be more outrage in the West, if a zoo with innocent animals was being bombed every day. This is why we can’t turn away when we see our brothers and sisters being killed mercilessly. This is about saying ‘Not in my name’.” 
Despite huge numbers of his MPs clearly stating their position on the need for a ceasefire in Gaza, Sir Keir Starmer is far too concerned with pandering to Washington. It seems he is prioritising his position among other Western states, particularly with a general election expected in 2024.
This is the wrong approach entirely. Starmer needs to remember what the Labour Party once stood for, and what it needs to stand for at this perilous point in time — ordinary people in the UK and groups around the world who find themselves oppressed.
He should be worried that this batch of 56 dissenting votes in the Commons is reflective of a much bigger and silent majority. It would do a good deal if he were able to reflect what the vast majority of the parliamentary party and its members are feeling.
We need to continue to call out politicians for their support of the Zionist regime; we must remember their actions during this time of the Ummah's suffering in any upcoming elections.
Growing calls for a ceasefire
The global call for a ceasefire in Gaza has become more pronounced over a month into the conflict, as the international community remains horrified at the scale of murder and violence enacted against Palestinian civilians by Israel.
Despite shifting global public opinion, with some world leaders calling for a ceasefire, the UK’s political establishment remains locked in an embarrassing and absurd debate on whether to call for a ceasefire or a humanitarian pause.
The occupation’s indiscriminate and incessant attacks have already claimed the lives of over 11,500 Palestinian civilians, including over 4,000 children, and displaced 1.5 million people, severely impacting the region’s infrastructure.
Large-scale protests advocating for a Gaza ceasefire have swept the UK, with notable demonstrations outside Parliament during the recent vote.
As Labour grapples with internal dissent over its Gaza policy, the party faces a critical juncture in balancing its internal divisions while projecting a unified front to the public in the lead-up to upcoming elections.
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