I have long supported a ceasefire.
Tonight, I have abstained from voting for the SNP’s amendment. I have never considered my role on the Labour front bench to be above my commitment to my constituents and my principles – and that is why I refused to join the Shadow Government many times. As the record shows, it’s why I resigned over airstrikes in Iraq in 2014. If my resignation meant the needle would move in the slightest over forcing a ceasefire, my letter would have been written and deposited already.
The people of Gaza; the people of Palestine; they live under bombardment, siege, and worse, as a result of the Israeli occupation. I want to ensure that my position is used to ensure the utmost impact to help alleviate this devastating situation. I want to see a ceasefire and I have been clear about this, but the reality is that this motion does not secure a ceasefire and would not lead towards one, which the people of Gaza urgently and desperately need.
Leaving the Shadow Government is something I am always willing to do, which is why I completely respect the decisions taken by fellow MPs today. The moment I think my presence is less positively impactful than my absence, I will do so. This SNP motion does not stand a chance of securing a ceasefire; and I will not relent in my obligation to be a loud voice within the Shadow Government, simply in exchange for a symbolic measure, important as it is, when my conscience dictates I do much more right now.