Should Keir Starmer resign?

A reflection on whether Keir Starmer, leader of the labour party should resign in light of his lack of action in calling for ceasefire.

Amana Khan
4th December 2023
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The Israel-Palestine conflict has produced a variety of differing opinions in the UK, especially across the political spectrum. Both leaders of the two main parties in the UK, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, have both denied the decision to call for a ceasefire.

Unlike The Conservative Party, the Labour Party’s view on calling for a ceasefire is completely divided. This has resulted in multiple groups and communities calling for the resignation of Keir Starmer. Recently, Preston’s city mosque leaders called for Starmer’s resignation after he refused to back a ceasefire, believing that his position was “not the correct position” at the moment. This argument for Starmer’s resignation has been replicated by other communities and groups, including a Welsh Constituency Labour Party, which argued that his resignation was necessary due to his “refusal to support a ceasefire in the ongoing aggression by the Israeli military”.

56 Labour MPs, including 10 frontbenchers defied the party whip

The calls for Starmer’s resignation show that his leadership is becoming a weak one and this was further highlighted by the actions from his frontbenchers recently. On the 15th November, MPs voted for an SNP amendment, which called for a ceasefire, however Starmer urged Labour’s MPs to vote against the ceasefire or risk losing their position. However, 56 Labour MPs, including 10 frontbenchers defied the party whip, with those on the frontbench resigning from the shadow cabinet. These resignations are not limited to the opposition but also to local Labour councillors, with many resigning due to the Labour Party’s stance, for example in Burnley 11 of the 22 Labour councillors have resigned.

The resignations and the disagreements that have been occurring under Starmer’s leadership is a clear portrayal of his weak leadership, as well as a leadership that is dismissing his party’s opinions on this conflict. Many of those remaining in his shadow cabinet have urged Starmer to change his stance on this conflict and take a “tougher line on Israeli military action in the region”.

The party is divided under Starmer, as well as looking extremely weak under his leadership.

The party is divided under Starmer, as well as looking extremely weak under his leadership. There is no clear party opinion, with the leader arguing one opinion, and the party arguing another. This makes the Labour Party look weak and makes Starmer seem like a leader that is out of touch with those within his party and voters. If Starmer continues to deny calling for ceasefire, it is very likely that he will ensure that the Labour Party lose votes, especially in Muslim communities and from more progressive voters, in the next general election, as well as looking like a divided and weak party.

Keir Starmer risks losing the next general election because of his divisive view. Therefore, in ensuring his party’s support and his voters support, Starmer needs to listen to their calls for a ceasefire or question his role as leader of a weak Labour Party.  

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