A FORMER Scottish Labour MP and minister has been accused of Islamophobia by the Muslim Association of Britain.

Tom Harris, who served as a Glasgow Labour MP from 2001 to 2015 and was briefly a minister in the UK Government, penned a piece for the Telegraph headlined: “Keir Starmer can safely ignore Muslim ‘community leaders’”.

It comes after polling found that Labour was losing support among its Muslim base over the party’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Research by Survation for the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) showed that 43% of Muslims would vote Labour, out of a sample which had backed the party by 58% at the last election.

Harris, who also previously served as lead non-executive director in Alister Jack’s Scotland Office, claimed that the LMN was looking to pressure Starmer into changing position on Gaza.

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He wrote: “As Coventry South Labour MP, Zarah Sultana tweeted in response to the poll: ‘This should be a wake up call, reminding us of the risk of taking voters for granted.’

“In other words, irrespective of whether the party and its leader believe Labour’s settled position of support for Israel in the face of the attack by Hamas terrorists on October 7 is correct, it should be changed to accommodate a minority of British voters.”

Harris went on: “To take an entirely cynical view, Starmer does not need the Muslim vote in order to win the next General Election. All the polling suggests he enjoys a 15 to 20 point lead over the incumbent Conservatives, and that lead has been almost entirely unaffected by the recent high-profile agitation during pro-Palestinian demonstrations by those who oppose Israel.

“A less cynical approach would lead to the same conclusion: for a leader and putative prime minister to reverse a policy of principle simply in order to regain the votes of any minority group would be disastrous.”

Responding to the article on social media, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) accused the article of being Islamophobic.

“Imagine a headline that reads: ‘Keir Starmer can safely ignore Jewish community leaders’ after a poll showing a massive drop in support from the Jewish community towards Labour.

“There would rightfully be uproar, The Telegraph would retract and issue an apology, and the author would be labelled an antisemite,” the MAB wrote.

“Islamophobia is so ingrained into the fabric of our society that losing Muslim support is considered by Labour and others as ‘shaking off the fleas’.”

Cracks in the Labour Party have been exposed by the Israel-Hamas war, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 27,000 Palestinians since October 7.

Many in the party want Starmer to call for an immediate ceasefire. He, like the UK Government, has instead argued for a "sustainable” ceasefire to allow for the release of Hamas hostages and to allow aid into Gaza.

Both the Labour leadership and the UK Government have argued that a ceasefire would be impossible as Hamas would not agree.

On Wednesday, Hamas responded to a ceasefire proposal with calls for a 135-day truce period, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, and the release of all hostages.