Keir Starmer’s hardline stance on Gaza is asking for trouble

Shabana Mahmood, the shadow justice secretary, is “the most interesting person in the shadow cabinet”, I was told by a Westminster journalist whose opinion I respect. The only Muslim member, she has been significant in holding the party together as it is convulsed by an emotional spasm over Gaza.

She wasn’t able to prevent eight shadow ministers from resigning on Wednesday, when they were among the 56 Labour MPs who voted for the Scottish National Party amendment to the humble address thanking the King for his speech. The amendment ​​called on the government to “join with the international community in urgently pressing all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire”.

But it would have been worse for Keir Starmer if Mahmood hadn’t worked to minimise the damage to party unity – or if she had resigned herself.


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