City of Durham MP Mary Foy was among eight Labour frontbenchers who resigned after backing the SNP’s amendment for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Keir Starmer, Labour Party leader, expressed his disappointment in the lack of party unity after 56 Labour MPs voted to support the SNP’s amendment to the King’s Speech. The Labour leadership had asked MPs to abstain from the vote, with frontbenchers being told in advance that supporting the amendment would lead to them being sacked.
Frontbenchers were told in advance that supporting the amendment would lead to them being sacked.
MPs were told to back the Labour leader’s call for longer “humanitarian pauses,” rather than the SNP’s amendment.
Overall, MPs voted 293 to 125 to reject the SNP’s amendment, including 56 Labour MPs. MPs also voted 290 to 183 to reject Labour’s King’s Speech amendment which called for longer “humanitarian pauses,” but stopped short of a ceasefire.
Foy, who was Angela Rayner’s PPS, put out a statement on X saying, “I’ve voted for a ceasefire, which is backed by the UN and its agencies, over 700 NGOs, Pope Francis & the majority of the British public- including 100s of constituents in the City of Durham.”
After the vote, Keir said he regretted that MPs had not supported his position.
He said, “Alongside leaders around the world, I have called throughout for adherence to international law, for humanitarian pauses to allow access for aid, food, water, utilities and medicine, and have expressed our concerns at the scale of civilian casualties.”
“Much more needs to be done in this regard to ease the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Gaza.
“And in addition to addressing the present, every leader has a duty not to go back to a failed strategy of containment and neglect, but to forge a better and more secure future for both Palestinians and Israelis.
“I regret that some colleagues felt unable to support the position tonight. But I wanted to be clear about where I stood, and where I will stand.”
Mary Foy took up her position as Angela Rayner’s PPS this Autumn. Foy has previously served as parliamentary private secretary for Andy McDonald, who was Shadow Secretary for Employment rights. However, she resigned from this frontbench position in October 2020 after voting against the CHIS bill, or Covert Human Intellectual Sources bill, in October 2020.
Jess Phillips, the most high-profile frontbencher who voted for the amendment, said in her resignation letter, “This week has been one of the toughest weeks in politics since I entered parliament.”
“I have tried to do everything that I could to make it so that this was not the outcome, but it is with a heavy heart that I will be leaving my post in the shadow Home Office team. On this occasion, I must vote with my constituents, my head, and my heart which has felt as if it were breaking over the last four weeks with the horror of the situation in Israel and Palestine.”
She continued saying, “I can see no route where the current military action does anything but put at risk the hope of peace and security for anyone in the region now and in the future.”
Naz Shah, MP from Bradford West, said “We have to make our positions clear (…) our job in parliament is to use our platforms to convince people, which is what I did in the chamber earlier.”
Image: David Woolfall via Wikimedia Commons