Israel-Hamas conflict: British MP sacked after calling for ceasefire

Paul Bristow

Paul Bristow, a member of parliament for Peterborough in the United Kingdom, has been sacked from his role after calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Bristow, who was also a parliamentary private secretary (PPS), a junior role in government, was fired after writing to Rishi Sunak, British prime minister, to urge a “permanent” break in fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group.

Last week, Sunak had said “specific pauses” would allow more aid into Gaza but rejected calls to back a ceasefire, saying Israel had a right to defend itself.

In his letter, the former MP said “thousands have been killed and more than one million now displaced. It is difficult to understand how this makes Israel more secure or indeed makes anything better”.

Bristow welcomed calls from Sunak for “specific pauses” in the fighting but added that “a permanent ceasefire would save lives and allow for a continued column of humanitarian aid [to] reach the people who need it the most”.

“It is important that you hear this message. This is my job as a local member of parliament,” he said.

A statement from Downing Street on Monday said “Paul Bristow has been asked to leave his post in the government following comments that were not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility”.

Collective responsibility is the convention that all members of the government must publicly support government policy, even if they personally disagree with it.

Speaking on his forced exit, Bristow said he understood the prime minister’s decision and that he regretted leaving the job he enjoyed.

“But I can now talk openly about an issue so many of my constituents care deeply about. I believe I can do this better from the backbenches rather than as part of the government payroll,” he added.

Sunak had visited Israel and pledged the UK’s support to help the Middle-Easten country defeat the “horrific act of terrorism” the nation has suffered.

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