UK

Labour commits to recognising a Palestinian state in manifesto

Sir Keir Starmer’s position on the Gaza conflict has caused unease among some in his party, with shadow ministers breaking ranks last November.

Sir Keir Starmer’s position on the Gaza conflict has caused unease among some in his party
Sir Keir Starmer’s position on the Gaza conflict has caused unease among some in his party (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Labour has committed to recognising a Palestinian state amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Long-term peace in the Middle East will be an “immediate” focus if Labour is elected, the party’s General Election manifesto states.

Sir Keir Starmer’s position on the conflict has previously caused unease among some in his party, with the leader facing criticism for not calling for an immediate ceasefire sooner.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer launches his party’s manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer launches his party’s manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In November last year, a host of Sir Keir’s shadow ministers broke ranks to call for an immediate ceasefire, including Naz Shah, Paul Barker and Afzal Khan.

A total of 10 shadow ministers and parliamentary aides rebelled, with some 56 Labour members defying a three-line whip and backing an amendment to the King’s Speech.

The party also faced setbacks in the local elections in some previously safe areas, particularly those with large Muslim populations.

The manifesto document states: “Long-term peace and security in the Middle East will be an immediate focus.

“Labour will continue to push for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, the upholding of international law, and a rapid increase of aid into Gaza.

“Palestinian statehood is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people. It is not in the gift of any neighbour and is also essential to the long-term security of Israel.

“We are committed to recognising a Palestinian state as a contribution to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.

“Labour will also strengthen support for British nationals abroad. We will introduce a new right to consular assistance in cases of human rights violations.”

The move is likely to anger the Israeli government, which reacted with fury when Ireland, Spain and Norway moved to recognise Palestinian statehood last month.