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Ceasefire campaigners 'lost for words' over Newport MPs' vote on Gaza

Protesters outside Newport station <i>(Image: Zahid Noor)</i>
Protesters outside Newport station (Image: Zahid Noor)

PRO-PALESTINE campaigners have said they are “lost for words” after both Newport's MPs abstained on a vote to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the office of Newport East MP Jessica Morden while voting took place last night and met again outside Newport station on Thursday, November 16.

Tonight, both Ms Morden and Newport West MP Ruth Jones have released statements reaffirming their stances on the issue. 

Ms Morden said she “shares the desperation for an end to the violence” and that she was "deeply distressed" by the loss of life in Israel and Palestine.

“We all want to see an enduring cessation of fighting as quickly as possible.

South Wales Argus: Jessica Morden.
South Wales Argus: Jessica Morden.

“Every heart-breaking story, every abhorrent image of death and destruction is a sobering reminder that the long-term security of Israel and justice for Palestine cannot be delivered by bombs and bullets," she said.

The MP, who serves as Parliamentary Private Secretary to party leader Sir Keir Starmer, said the Labour Party had done “all it can” to push for an end to “unacceptable siege conditions” imposed on people in Gaza.

With Labour in pole position ahead of a likely 2024 General Election, Ms Morden said a two-state solution would be a priority for a Labour government “just as the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland was before”.

She concluded: “I do not underestimate the strength of feeling among constituents surrounding these events. I share your heartbreak. Over the past month, I have listened to people right across our Newport East community, of all faiths and none. I hear your concerns, and I will continue to listen to them all.”

Ms Jones, MP for Newport West, said she condemned the actions of Hamas on October 7 and the bombing of innocent people in Gaza. She said: "On October 27, I wrote to Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party, expressing my support for a cessation of hostilities and fighting.

"That is how we allow for real and tangible humanitarian provision to enter Gaza and prevent any devastating further loss of innocent lives. That is why I supported Labour’s amendment to the Kings Speech.

"I cannot, like many people, stop thinking about this crisis. I will continue to work every day for the two-state solution that is the only way we will see the peace and safety that people in Palestine and Israel so desperately need."

‘Lost for words’

Rebecca Vaughan, chair of Newport Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “We are lost for words over Jessica Morden and Ruth Jones MPs’ failure to support the ceasefire motion and applaud the 30 per cent of Labour MPs who rebelled on this issue.

South Wales Argus: Protesters called out Newport's MPs
South Wales Argus: Protesters called out Newport's MPs

“The calls for a ceasefire are deafening, far-reaching and the only credible way forward. A permanent ceasefire is the first step on the way to a sustainable peace for both Palestine and Israel.”

The Senedd endorsed a ceasefire on Wednesday, November 8, though government ministers abstained as is convention on matters of international affairs.

Whilst Welsh Labour backbenchers in Cardiff Bay were given a free vote on the issue, UK Labour leader Keir Starmer instructed MPs to abstain on the SNP’s motion and back a Labour alternative – calling for longer humanitarian pauses – instead.