Four Labour MPs expected to defy Keir Starmer and address pro-Palestine march in London

The party leader is facing increasing dissent over not calling for a ceasefire

Former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a protest in solidarity with Palestinians. REUTERS / Susannah Ireland
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Six MPs including four from the Labour Party are expected to speak at Saturday’s pro-Palestine march, The National has been told.

The party's leadership has previously advised all elected representatives to stay away from the weekly marches that have been taking place in central London.

Organisers are predicting 500,000 demonstrators will attend the event in central London, which would make it one of the biggest political protests in recent British history.

The four previous marches have included speeches delivered at the end, and speakers have included MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott – both of whom have been suspended from the Labour Party.

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, one of the march’s organisers, said the list of speakers has yet to be finalised.

But “there are half a dozen MPs [who will be speaking] and four of them are Labour MPs”, he told The National.

In addition, there will be “six general secretaries of trade unions” and “representatives of the Jewish community”.

It will be significant if the Labour MPs do speak at the event, given the party’s divisions over the Israel-Gaza war.

Ahead of the first pro-Palestine marches, Labour’s elected representatives were given “strong advice not to attend any of these events” from the party’s general secretary David Evans.

Imran Hussain, one of the party’s front-benchers, resigned his position earlier this week to “strongly advocate for a ceasefire” in the Middle East.

Leader Keir Starmer has so far ignored demands for some members of his party to call for a ceasefire after an interview in which he appeared to suggest Israel had the right to cut off water and power to Gaza.

That led to the resignation of some Labour councillors and claims the party’s leadership was trying to stifle debate, as Mr Starmer sought to clarify his comments.

Leading Labour figures including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Scottish Labour's Anas Sarwar have urged him to call for a ceasefire.

MP Andy McDonald was suspended after participating in a pro-Palestine rally, in which he called for “peaceful liberty” for Israelis and Palestinians “between the river and the sea”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also has his internal party problems stemming from events in the Middle East and how they have resonated in the UK.

He is under pressure to sack Suella Braverman after “she offended just about everyone” when she wrote an article accusing police of bias over protests in support of Palestine, defying Downing Street in the process.

Updated: November 11, 2023, 6:00 AM