The British Labor Party has suspended an MP, Andy McDonald, for a speech given at the latest pro-Palestine demonstration in London, in which he made reference to the chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” McDonald’s suspension has aggravated Labor’s crisis amid growing criticism of its leader Keir Starmer’s stance defending Israel’s right to “self-defense.”
Starmer himself has tried to calm the internal disputes with a speech in London defending “a humanitarian pause” in Israel’s military offensive, but reiterating his opposition to a “ceasefire” on the grounds that this option would allow Hamas to launch new attacks against Israel.
Half of its 199 deputies nevertheless defend the ceasefire. At least 12 ministers in his “shadow” cabinet (including Jess Phillips, Andy Slaughter, Afzal Khan and Rushanara Ali) are also in favor of a cessation of hostilities. A large dozen Muslim councilors have resigned and the mayors of London, Sadiq Khan, and Manchester, Andy Burnham, have also challenged their leader.
42% of Labor voters believe Starmer has “mishandled” his response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, compared to 26% who consider their reaction to have been “good”, according to a recent YouGov poll. The Labor leader is slipping worryingly in the polls and the lead over the Conservative Party has narrowed to 15 points.
The ‘premier’ Rishi Sunak has taken advantage of his clearly pro-Israel position among his voters, while Starmer is going through great difficulties to avoid an internal fracture after his policy of “zero tolerance” towards anti-Semitism since his rise as leader three years ago. years.