The fact that Westminster is content to play cynical games while Palestinians suffer is beneath contempt writes Lindsey German

Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP was elected Speaker of the House of Commons in November 2019.

The shameful scenes in parliament where Labour manoeuvred to stop a principled motion calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza are bad enough. But even worse is the justification of many Labour MPs for the coercion of the Speaker: that they were fearful of intimidation and violence from demonstrators over Gaza.

Firstly, this is a lie: the protests that take place at MPs’ offices are overwhelmingly peaceful and no threat to MPs or their staff. They are a longstanding and valid form of expressing disagreement and concern over issues in a democracy. But such is the state of politics in Britain that they are now equated with intimidation of MPs. Perhaps these MPs – highly salaried and privileged in comparison with most of their constituents – should have reflected when they stood for office that being involved in politics of necessity involves disagreement and controversy at certain times.

There is a huge movement in support of the Palestinians across Britain and real anger that politicians have for the most part stood by as we witness a genocide in Gaza. None of these protests would take place if the MPs concerned had taken the very minimal step of backing an immediate ceasefire.

But there is also a second and more important question: why MPs are so self-centred to highlight the minimal inconvenience to them while people are starving in Gaza, while over 12,000 children have been killed and where the population is being ethnically cleansed? And why did the Labour leadership refuse to accept an amendment which talked about the collective punishment of the people of Gaza? The Labour position on Gaza has been a disgrace from the beginning and this is why they are facing a wave of protest.

The fact that they are trying to demonise protestors and to paint them as violent extremists shows their political and moral bankruptcy. The fact that they are content to play their cynical and pathetic games while the Palestinians suffer is beneath contempt.

22 Feb 2024

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