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UK set to vote on recognition of Palestinian state

When the British parliament returns on October 13th a vote will be held to recognise the state of Palestine. The debate has been called for by the chair of the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East and MP for Easington, Grahame Morris and been supported by Crispin Blunt MP, Sir Bob Russell MP, Caroline Lucas MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP. The debate will hear from MPs calling on the British government to recognise Palestine as a state alongside the state of Israel. MPs will then vote on whether to support the motion or not.

The debate comes as growing dissent with government policy towards Israel and Palestine surfaced over the summer, leading to the resignation of senior Conservative minister, Baroness Warsi. Writing in the New Statesman, leading Conservative MPs, including Baroness Morris, called on the government to support the motion. The Labour party have previously indicated that they would support the recognition of a Palestinian state. When the issue of recognition of Palestine at the United Nations was discussed in the House of Commons, Ed Miliband urged David Cameron to support the bid for recognition.

The debate is not opposed, but some MPs have added the amendment that such recognition should only come “on the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority”. Give that some are uncomfortable with supporting recognition of a Palestinian state, it is not yet clear which way the vote will go. Solidarity organisations in the UK have been campaigning for such recognition and a number of MPs have been lobbied, with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign launching a lobby initiative with great success and thousands of constituents getting involved. If parliament does vote to recognise a Palestinian state it will be one of the first European countries to do so, following Spain who passed a resolution to recognise Palestine in 2011.

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