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Starmer widens rift with Britain’s Muslims

PRIME MINISTER Sir Keir Starmer has opened up a further rift with Britain’s Muslims by responding dismissively to a question as to how he would seek to regain support from a community which largely turned against Labour last week.

When challenged by ITV on the loss of Muslim votes, Starmer instead referred only to his breadth of support and Labour’s country-wide gains while failing to acknowledge the disaffection.

Labour MP Apsana Begum said: “This is an awful response from Keir and lacks any acknowledgement of the need to build trust among British Muslims who feel that Labour has let them down.

“Labour’s position on Gaza — especially Starmer’s infamous comments about Israel’s right to cut off electricity to Gaza — came up over and over again during the election across the country and clearly lost Labour votes.

“There is no doubt that lots of voters have serious concerns about Starmer’s record on Gaza, Islamophobia and migration, among a number of other issues. 

“This was an opportunity for Keir to assure British Muslims he was listening. An opportunity ignored.”

Four newly elected independent MPs, returned on a pro-Palestinian ticket, joined Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons yesterday ready to press the Prime Minister both on Gaza and tackling Islamophobia, alongside Labour MPs like Ms Begum.

Left MPs were hopeful that at least four newly elected Labour MPs would join the Socialist Campaign Group, almost making up for the numbers lost in the purges carried out by Starmer before the election.

They will, however, be a smaller proportion of the greatly enlarged Parliamentary Labour Party, which includes mostly MPs hand-picked by the party apparatus and sometimes simply imposed on their constituencies.

MPs gathered yesterday to discharge the formalities of the new parliament. Many of Labour’s women MPs dressed in red to mark the occasion, however far the prospect of socialism is from the government’s intentions.

Lindsay Hoyle was re-elected as Commons Speaker without opposition, his controversial blocking of a vote on an SNP motion calling for a Gaza ceasefire now apparently forgotten and forgiven.

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