Keir Starmer REFUSES to axe activist Labour MP Apsana Begum who posed with a pro-Palestinian group hours after it announced a protest outside the Israeli embassy in response to Hamas murdering hundreds of civilians
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Sir Keir Starmer yesterday refused to suspend a Labour MP who posed with a group hours after it announced a protest outside the Israeli embassy in response to Hamas murdering hundreds of civilians.
Backbencher Apsana Begum, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, posed at the Labour Women’s Conference on Saturday with the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which praised her backing for the group’s cause.
But a spokesman for Sir Keir said she would face no disciplinary action because the group is not banned in Britain. It came on a day when Labour was reminded of its dark time under Corbyn as activists at an event on the sidelines of the party conference in Liverpool applauded Hamas terrorists.
Yasmin Elsouda, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement, told more than 100 people at a meeting that the Palestinians who had died were ‘martyrs’.
Speaking at The World Transformed – a festival separate from the main conference, set up by Corbynista group Momentum during his leadership in 2016 – she said: ‘I’m honoured to be speaking at such a historic moment. Yesterday over 230 of our siblings… ascended to martyrdom at the hands of the Zionist entity.’
Side by side: Labour MP Apsana Begum, circled, poses alongside the Palestinian Solidarity Group hours after it announced a protest outside the Israeli embassy
Yasmin Elsouda, (pictured speaking yesterday) a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement, told more than 100 people at a meeting that the Palestinians who had died were ‘martyrs’
Sir Keir Starmer yesterday refused to suspend MP Apsana Begum, who posed with a group hours after it announced a protest outside the Israeli embassy in response to Hamas murdering hundreds of civilians. Sir Keir is pictured on Sunday at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool
Sir Keir has condemned ‘appalling’ atrocities and what he described as ‘acts of terrorism’ committed by Hamas. Pictured: An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday
In Liverpool yesterday, Mr Corbyn was asked by Channel 4 News whether he condemned Hamas for the attacks. He repeatedly refused to do so, but said: ‘Obviously all attacks are wrong.’
Crackdown on parades
Police chiefs are drawing up plans to prevent convoys of pro-Palestinian activists parading through Jewish communities in Britain.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman yesterday urged officers to ‘use the full force of the law’ after videos emerged of people appearing to celebrate attacks on Israel.
The Metropolitan Police increased patrols in London after Countdown presenter Rachel Riley reported seeing two cars with Palestinian flags flying from each window, ‘seemingly celebrating like they were having a party’.
She later posted a video which showed people waving Palestinian flags, beeping car horns and clapping in Acton, west London.
Mrs Braverman posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘There must be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or glorification of terrorism on the streets of Britain.’
Following the assault by Hamas, the PSC announced an ’emergency demo’ outside the Israeli embassy in London this evening. The group has said the atrocity was caused by Israel’s own actions rather than Palestinian terrorists.
The protest was intended to ‘demand Israel end its violent imposition of… occupation, apartheid and colonisation over the Palestinian people’.
Last night Sir Keir faced calls to take action against Ms Begum after Tory Party chairman Greg Hands wrote to Labour to demand she have the whip suspended over her support for the PSC.
Mr Hands said: ‘The Jewish community has expressed valid concerns about anti-Semitism within the party in the past.
‘Failing to take immediate and decisive action against a Labour MP associated with an organisation known for its anti-Semitic rhetoric could further erode trust and support within this community. I urge you to take swift action by suspending the MP in question and remove the PSC from Labour conference.’
Last night a spokesman for Sir Keir said there were no grounds to take action against Ms Begum.
‘PSC is not a proscribed organisation,’ he said. ‘I’m not aware of Apsana saying anything on the Hamas attack on Israel.’
Sir Keir has condemned ‘appalling’ atrocities and what he described as ‘acts of terrorism’ committed by Hamas.
‘Labour stands firmly in support of Israel’s right to defend itself, rescue hostages, and protect its citizens,’ he said in a statement.
Israeli soldiers are pictured at the southern Israeli town of Ofakim on Sunday
Israeli soldiers take position on the main road near the border with Gaza on Sunday
An explosion in the city of Gaza following an Israeli airstrike on October 8 2023
People flee as clashes flare between Palestinian groups and Israeli forces in Gaza City following the earlier air strikes on Saturday
The Israeli army moves artillery units toward border with Gaza on Sunday
Fire and smoke rise following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Sunday after the militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel
Theresa May’s former pollster James Johnson told the conference Labour must crack down on hard-Left MPs like Ms Begum or they will taint the party brand.
A spokesman for Sir Keir said in response: ‘This is precisely why Keir Starmer has been determined to change the Labour Party.’
Sir Keir has attempted to root out anti-Semitism from Labour after it was found to have unlawfully harassed Jewish members under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
A three-year investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found it was responsible for three Equality Act breaches.
But the PSC was permitted to host a stall at the conference, where it is demanding that Labour oppose government plans to make it illegal for public bodies to boycott Israeli goods.
A member of Israeli police is seen in Ashkelon, southern Israel on Saturday after the Hamas offensive
A man is seen walking with his bicycle on Sunday after Israeli airstrikes destroyed buildings and neighbourhoods at Rimal district of Gaza City
Palestinians celebrate on Saturday after an Israeli tank was hit by Hamas gunmen who infiltrated the south of the country, on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border
A Palestinian diplomat scheduled to speak alongside shadow foreign secretary David Lammy at a conference event tomorrow appeared to blame Israel for the attack.
Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian Mission to the United Kingdom, is due to appear with Mr Lammy at Labour Friends of Palestine’s reception in Liverpool.
He told CNN: ‘This is a war crime committed by Israel – Israel knew that this was coming their way.’
Mr Lammy tweeted to ‘condemn Hamas’s attacks unequivocally’ and say his party ‘stands in solidarity’ with Israel.
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