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Colwick councillor quits Labour in protest at Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on Israel

Councillor Russell Whiting, who represents Colwick on Gedling Borough Council, is unhappy about the leader's refusal to criticise Israel

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A Gedling borough councillor has resigned from the Labour Party over leader Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Councillor Russell Whiting, who represents Colwick on Gedling Borough Council, said in a social media post that he has resigned and is unhappy about the leader’s refusal to criticise Israel over cutting off food and water to over 2m people in Gaza and also on the order to evacuate 1m people in the area, giving them just 24 hours to leave.

“The Labour Party should always be willing to stand up for injustices and call out wrongs, no matter where they take place or who is responsible,” Whiting said.

“The initial failure of Sir Keir Starmer to criticise Israel cutting food, water and electricity to 2,000,000 people in Gaza, or the order to evacuate more than 1,000,000, with nowhere to go and only 24 hours to do it, is reprehensible”

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The Colwick councillor said he could not back Starmer as Prime Minister of the country following his comments over Israel, only backing down after a public outcry.

PICTURED: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
PICTURED: Cllr Russell Whiting represents Colwick on Gedling Borough Council

When questioned last week on LBC about whether “cutting off power and water” to more than two million people, half of whom are children, was appropriate. Sir Keir agreed that Israel “has that right”.

Whiting added: “Politics is about compromise. But there are some things I cannot and will not compromise on. If challenging Sir Keir Starmer on the basic rights of women and children living in a war zone means I can no longer take the Labour Whip, so be it.

“I will continue to serve the residents of Colwick to the best of my ability as an independent councillor. I send my solidarity to those grieving in Israel and Palestine, those living in the middle of this nightmare and those around the world campaigning to end the war, end the occupation and bring hope to the men, women and children of Palestine. May calm heads and peace-filled hearts prevail.”

On Monday (16) Sir Keir insisted in parliament that civilians in Gaza “must not be targeted” as he called for humanitarian corridors to be opened to allow the supply of food, water and electricity to the Gaza Strip.

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Sir Keir also said the international community must keep “striving for a two-state solution” to the conflict. “We cannot let Hamas brutality be a catalyst for conflict in the wider region. Engagement between Israel and Arab nations must be strengthened not abandoned.”

The Labour leader said it is “crucial that this House speaks with one voice in condemnation of terror, in support for Israel in its time of agony and for the dignity of all human life”.

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