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Shadow foreign secretary visits Israel and Palestine as pressure for ceasefire continues

SHADOW foreign secretary David Lammy will visit Israel and Palestine this week to call for a “longer pause” to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, as the party faces pressure for a ceasefire call.

Mr Lammy will meet politicians including Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Palestinian Authority deputy foreign minister Amal Jadu.

Sir Keir Starmer has been battling a rift in his party over the issue, with eight frontbenchers having resigned to defy his position and vote in the Commons to support a ceasefire.

Labour MPs’ offices, including Sir Keir’s, have been targeted by protests over their failure to vote for an end to the bloodshed this past week.

Shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens’s office was sprayed with red pant on Thursday.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said some protests had “crossed the line to intimidation,” telling Sky News yesterday: “In a democracy, we elect our MPs and they make decisions. They represent their constituents, but they also listen to all of the evidence.

“Anything that would attempt to intimidate an MP to vote in a certain way or to put pressure on them — it is anti-democratic in my view.”

But many protesters have been constituents angry at the MPs, saying they have failed to represent their views in Parliament.

In Camden Town, Sir Keir’s constituency, hundreds marched to call for a ceasefire on Saturday, with some chanting “Keir Starmer is a wasteman.”

Protester Claudia Manchanda, who had chemotherapy two days before the action, told the Guardian that she joined the action because “I want to be on the right side of history. I don’t want to be complicit.”

“Camden has spoken. We don’t want genocide,” she said.

“We care about babies and civilians. We see the crimes against humanity.”

Labour MPs who voted for a ceasefire have also witnessed abuse. Naz Shah, who quit the front bench, said she has received “Islamophobic hatred.”

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who also defied the Labour whip, said he would challenge anti-semitic signs or chanting if he saw it at pro-Palestine demonstrations.

He told the BBC: “It bothers me those chants, but they’re so small a minority we’ve got the powers to deal with that.

“Apart from that, the vast majority, 800,000 last time that I was there, are calling for ceasefire and peace.”


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