Cameron faces calls to restore funding to UNRWA to help ease suffering in Gaza

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has come under pressure to restore funding to the UN’s humanitarian relief agency in Palestine from a cross-party group of more than 50 MPs and peers.

The UK was among a group of countries which halted funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) amid allegations from Israel that some staff members were involved in the October 7 atrocities carried out by Hamas.

In a letter to Lord Cameron, the MPs and peers called for clarity about why the UK decided to suspend funding and why interim reports from investigations into UNRWA had not been enough to resume the supply of money.

The UK Government has said no funding is due from Britain to UNRWA until the end of April and it is awaiting the findings of both a review of the agency by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna and a UN investigation into the October 7 claims.

The letter, from MP Brendan O’Hara, SNP foreign affairs spokesman, and signed by colleagues from all main parties, said funding should be restored “without delay”.

“By reinstating funding to UNRWA, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to upholding human rights, promoting stability in the region and fostering a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the letter said.

Mr O’Hara added: “Since the grave allegations from Israeli authorities about UNRWA, two independent investigations have taken place. Following their conclusion, our allies in Canada, France, Finland, Australia, Sweden and the European Union have all restored funding. So why hasn’t the UK?

“UNRWA has played a vital role in supporting the approximately 1.9 million internally displaced Palestinians throughout this conflict.

“Cutting off their funding has done monumental reputation damage and has risked derailing the critical lifesaving work they do.”

Signatories to Mr O’Hara’s letter include Tory MP Flick Drummond, Labour former shadow cabinet minister Richard Burgon, the Bishop of Southwark and former diplomat Lord Hannay of Chiswick.