‘Labour will recognise Palestine but there’s nothing to recognise now’

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‘Labour will recognise Palestine but there’s nothing to recognise now’

Deputy Leader of Opposition Angela Rayner makes promise to Muslim voters whilst campaigning in her Ashton-under-Lyne seat

Screenshot of video circulating online showing Angela Rayner addressing voters.
Screenshot of video circulating online showing Angela Rayner addressing voters.

Angela Rayner has said Labour would recognise a Palestinian state if the party wins power this summer – but didn’t put a timescale on such a move.

The comments by the deputy leader of the Opposition came during talks with Muslim voters in her constituency of Ashton-under- Lyne, three weeks after senior party figures acknowledged that Labour’s steadfast support for Israel’s right to defend itself had cost it support at the local elections.

It also came after Sir Keir Starmer’s spokesman said he would look to work with a coalition of other countries to recognise Palestine as part of a process that “would have a better chance of making a meaningful contribution to the goal of a two-state solution”.

Saying that she would resign as an MP if it would bring about a ceasefire, Rayner told the gathering – a recording of which was leaked to Guido – “If Labour get into power we will recognise Palestine. I will push not only to recognise but there is nothing to recognise at the moment sadly. It’s decimated.

“We have to rebuild Palestine. We have to rebuild Gaza. That takes more than just recognising it. It takes resources, infrastructure, expertise. We need teachers, civil servants , we need all of the infrastructure. That’s a big job and I will push Labour to do our part in that with the international community.

“The Labour party including myself is doing everything we can. Nobody wants to see what’s happening.” With only five weeks until the country goes to the polls, she also sought to highlight a dividing line between the Tories and Labour over their differing approaches to the Internatinal Criminal Court prosecutor seeking arrest warrants to the Israeli PM and defence minister. “Only last week the Labour Party were supporting  the ICC. The  Conservative’s didn’t support the ICC.”

She also told the event: “I won’t say things I can’t do. I cannot bring about a ceasefire and I’m really sorry about that. But that is a failure of the international community.”

Last week, Starmer’s office responded to the recognition of Palestine by Spain, Norway and Ireland by stressing his “fundamental objective” remained a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The SNP’s new leader John Swinney has warned that he’d force a vote on recognition in the Commons after the election if the main parties refused to recognise a state immediately.

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