This morning Baroness Warsi took the brave and courageous decision to resign from the British government over its policy on the current conflict in Gaza. After writing to the prime minister, she tweeted “With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza.”
Baroness Warsi’ s resignation comes in the wake of Ed Miliband’s comments last week when he said that the prime minister was “in the wrong” on his position on Gaza and that his silence was “inexplicable”. It is not just from the Labour opposition that the prime minister has been facing difficulties, his own MPs have been applying further pressure. Last week Conservative MP Margot James, PPS to William Hague (former foreign secretary) said: “I ask that the government rethinks policy towards the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
As pressure builds around Cameron, Warsi has taken the decision to resign from the government as she feels she can no longer support the position on Gaza. In her letter to the prime minister she said that she “always said that long after life in politics I must be able to live with myself for the decisions I took or the decisions I supported. By staying in Government at this time I do not feel I can be sure of that.” Her principled stand was further explained in an interview with Mehdi Hassan where she explained: “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.”
Baroness Warsi’s summation of Britain’s position as an honest broker is perhaps one of the most honest comments to come from a (now former) government minister since the current conflict in Gaza erupted. Despite the continued devastation and huge destruction being caused to the Gaza Strip and its population there has been little attempt by the British government to stand up to Israeli aggression. Indeed, behind the scenes reports have been circulating that Foreign Office officials have been unhappy with the government’s position on Israel and Palestine for some time and Warsi’s resignation seems to confirm this. The reality is that there are deep stirrings within the British establishment over the UK’s role in the Middle East, clearly many people are unhappy with the UK’s current position. As it is, the UK continues to pursue a foreign policy which suggests it puts other interests before its commitment to international law and human rights.
Indeed, in her resignation letter Warsi noted that “as the Minister with responsibility for the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and Human Rights I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, especially our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice.”
Baroness Warsi went one step further in her interview with Mehdi Hassan for the Huffington Post and called for the UK to introduce an arms embargo. It seems now that there are more and more Conservatives who are no longer willing to watch in silence as the UK becomes complicit in Israeli war crimes. Baroness Warsi has put her principles before her career, paving the way for many others to do the same.