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Warsi resigns over Westminster Gaza policy

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FOREIGN Office Minister Baroness Warsi has resigned, branding the Government’s policy on Gaza as “morally indefensible”.

Lady Warsi, who was the first Muslim to sit in Cabinet, informed Prime Minister David Cameron that she could no longer support the Government’s stance on the issue.

She wrote in her resignation letter: “My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East peace process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long-term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.”

Lady Warsi’s resignation comes amid growing disquiet among some Tory MPs that the Government has not taken a firmer line over Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

She has signalled her own concern about what was happening in a series of comments on her Twitter feed in recent days.

In one she wrote: “Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children. Whatever our politics there can never be justification, surely only regret #Gaza.”

In another just three days ago she said: “If there is a community meeting or protest in relation to Gaza happening near you I’d like to know, please tweet me the details.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson paid tribute to her, saying he hoped she would make a return to the Government soon.

“I have very great respect for Sayeeda she has done a great job for us and I hope she will be back as soon as possible,” he said during an LBC radio phone-in.

While Mr Johnson - who described himself as a “passionate Zionist” said that politicians across the political spectrum were horrified at what had been happening in Gaza - he went on to condemn the Israeli action as “disproportionate” - a word Mr Cameron and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have consistently avoided.

“I can’t for the life of me see how this can be a sensible strategy.” he said. “I think it is disproportionate, I think it is ugly and it is tragic and I don’t think it will do Israel any good in the long run.”

Lady Warsi’s resignation appeared to have caught No 10 by surprise, with Mr Cameron currently out of the country on holiday.

It comes amid growing unease among some Conservative MPs that the Government has failed to take a firmer line with Israel over its incursion into Gaza in the face of mounting Palestinian casualties.

Lady Warsi has signalled her own concern about what was happening in a series of comments on her Twitter feed in recent days.

In one she wrote: “Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children. Whatever our politics there can never be justification, surely only regret #Gaza.”

In another just three days ago she said: “If there is a community meeting or protest in relation to Gaza happening near you I’d like to know, please tweet me the details.”

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK website following her resignation, Lady Warsi said the UK had forfeited its role as an honest broker in the region and called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel.

“The British Government can only play a constructive role in solving the Middle East crisis if it is an honest broker and at the moment I do not think it is,” she said.

 

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