East Lothian Courier – 29 February 2024


I wasn’t due to be in Parliament last Wednesday. Though down the day before I’d intended to return after it for a longstanding commitment to a youth group. However, when the Gaza ceasefire debate was set for that day, I regrettably required to cancel. There are many votes you can miss and with a comfortable Tory majority it makes no difference to the outcome.

However, there are some issues upon which you simply must record your position, and this was one. It wasn’t so much for the record but for the world to see. The horror unfolding in Gaza’s a stain on humanity. It needs to stop and those perpetrating it called out for their breaches of international law.

It’s also important though for those suffering. The Palestinian Ambassador told me how people suffering in Gaza do watch what the world is doing, and their hopes depend on people speaking out and speaking up for them.

It was why the vote for an immediate ceasefire mattered and why the event that played out in Westminster was not only unedifying but a cruel blow to suffering Palestinians. The Speakers behaviour in bowing to disgraceful Labour pressure was shameful. The shenanigans were to hide Labour MPs from having to answer to constituents for their failure to back it.

But every vote recorded for an immediate ceasefire did matter. I doubt it would have passed but I’ve no doubt it would have increased from before and more importantly would have given hope to those suffering.

I managed to speak in the debate and called out both the Israeli actions and UK complicity. Of course, Hamas stands condemned, and Israel has a right to defend itself. But what has been happening has long since passed what’s a legitimate response. Now Israel is operating to a plan to make Gaza unliveable. That is genocidal.

Meanwhile the UK abstains at the UN on ceasefire votes and more shamefully allows the USA to supply Israel through RAF bases in Cyprus, sells arms to Israel and trains the IDF. All that makes the Westminster fiasco even more shameful.