Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, has expressed concern over the loss of trust from British Muslims in the party due to its stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict. Mahmood, a senior Muslim MP, has called for the party to mend its relationship with Muslim voters. This follows the resignation of ten Labour MPs who disagreed with the party’s initial hesitation to demand a ceasefire in the region. The party has since revised its stance to call for an end to the fighting.
Mahmood stated her desire for a ceasefire on Political Thinking with Nick Robinson, expressing her distress at the images of children being pulled from rubble. She also acknowledged the difficulty in achieving a ceasefire.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas has caused internal strife within the Labour Party. Controversy arose when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seemed to support Israel’s right to cut off Gaza’s power and water during an interview. He later clarified that he was supporting Israel’s right to self-defence.
Further tension occurred when 56 Labour MPs voted for an SNP motion calling for a ceasefire, against party orders. A poll in November revealed that 41% of Muslim voters felt more negatively about Labour since the conflict began.
Mahmood emphasised the need to rebuild trust with Muslim voters and criticised both Hamas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for hindering a two-state solution. She argued that a one-state solution would not ensure safety for Israelis and that it was unjust to deny Palestinians self-determination. Netanyahu recently rejected proposed ceasefire terms from Hamas, claiming that total victory in Gaza could be achieved within months.