New Foreign Secretary David Lammy repeats call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Remark came in Lammy’s first interview after becoming the country’s top diplomat


LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy makes his way along the East Gallery to attend the State Banquet for Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako of Japan at Buckingham Palace on June 25, 2024 in London, England. The Japanese royal couple arrived in Britain for a three-day state visit hosted by King Charles III. (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The new Foreign Secretary, David Lammy, has repeated his call for an “immediate” ceasefire in Gaza.

In his first comments after becoming the country’s top diplomat, Lammy, 51, said he would do “all he could” to bring about that aim.

Lammy’s support for Israel has shifted since October 7, as for many in the Labour party. Shortly after the Hamas attacks, Lammy signed a statement on behalf of the Labour front bench, condemning the massacre as “unprovoked”.

On October 10, he spoke at a Labour Friends of Israel event, where he said: ”We stand here as Labour Friends of Israel – but I have to say I am proud to live in a country where it doesn’t matter if you are Labour, Liberal Democrat or you are Conservative to stand with the people of Israel”.

The MP for Tottenham abstained from the ceasefire vote called by the Scottish National Party in November 2023 and followed the Labour line shortly urging a “humanitarian pause”.

In April, Lammy called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, expressing his “serious concerns about a breach in international humanitarian law” over Israel’s offensive, saying “far too many people have died”.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "My judgement is if we get a ceasefire, more hostages will be released. That's the first thing, and more aid will get into Gaza to alleviate the famine that's now taken over”. Lammy added, though, that “to get a ceasefire, both sides have to lay down arms,” stressing the importance of bilaterally working toward peace.

Labour’s manifesto suggest the party aims to contribute “to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution”.
Lammy has led calls for the proscription in the UK of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp.

His stance on Israel, though, has drawn criticism from pro-Palestine voices. In May, pro-Palestinian protesters interrupted a speech given by the Foreign Secretary, accusing him of being “complicit in genocide”. Challenging the protesters, Lammy emphasised that his party had “been calling for a ceasefire for months”. He called the protest “shameful and antisemitic”.

Lammy has long worked to challenge antisemitism. After the MP attended an Enough is Enough rally against antisemitism in 2018, he was threatened with deselection by his local party and accused by some of having “stabbed them in the back”.

Speaking more recently, in 2021, at the Limmud Festival, Lammy apologised for nominating Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership in 2015. “It was a mistake and I’m very sorry for that mistake,” he said. The Foreign Secretary said he had never believed Corbyn would be elected leader and that he had regretted nominating him even before the Enough is Enough protest.

“This is a road back,” he told Limmud, speaking about getting the Labour party back to a place where Jews feel welcome. “We are on the road, but the journey is not complete. And I’m afraid, very sadly, it is still the case in some constituency parties there are individuals who, it is clear, still hold deeply antisemitic views,” he said.

Lammy caused controversy in the Jewish community when he publicly supported the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant alongside that of three Hamas terror chiefs.

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