A SENIOR Conservative MP has joined in calls for the UK to halt arms sales to Israel.

Alicia Kearns, the Tory MP for Rutland and Melton and chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee at Westminster, told the BBC that the UK has "no choice" but to stop sending arms to Israel and that to do so was neither political nor antisemitic but rather a matter of law.

The National:

The MP also said that she did not believe Israel's claim that it had “accidentally” killed seven foreign aid workers who were distributing much-needed food aid on behalf of the charity World Central Kitchen and were killed in three separate targeted drone strikes on their vehicles, whose movements had been co-ordinated with the Israeli military in advance. 

According to a report in the left-of-centre Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the aid workers' convoy had been targeted because the Israeli military incorrectly believed that an armed Hamas militant was travelling with the aid workers. Even if that is true, it speaks of a capricious disregard for civilian life on the part of the Israeli military, which was prepared to kill seven innocent civilians in order to target one Hamas militant.

The National:

That makes a mockery of the repeated claim by Israeli government spokespeople that the Israeli army does not target civilians. We only know about the details of this case because the Israelis killed foreign aid workers from nations that support Israel politically and militarily. How many innocent Palestinians have been killed because Israeli forces thought – mistakenly or otherwise – that they were in the vicinity of Hamas fighters?

Almost 200 aid workers have been killed in Gaza, severely hampering aid efforts as disease and famine take hold on a traumatised and displaced population, reduced to eking out an existence in insanitary tent encampments hastily erected in the ruins of the territory. The deaths of those other aid workers, overwhelmingly Palestinian, have not attracted the same international outrage. These repeated attacks on aid workers point to a systemic pattern of activity by the Israeli military, driven by a culture of impunity in which the perpetrators of these war crimes know that they will suffer no consequences.

The call from the senior Tory MP comes on the heels of an open letter signed by 600 lawyers including three former Supreme Court judges which demands an immediate halt to British arms sales to Israel, and sets out legal arguments on why failing to do so would cause the UK to be in breach of both international law and UK domestic legislation.

Kearns further noted: "Legal advice is advisory so the Government can choose to reject it, but UK arms export licences require a recipient to comply with international humanitarian law.

"There are some seeking to capture and create a monopoly on what it means to be a friend of Israel, what it means to support Israel to defeat Hamas.

"A friend to Israel is someone who wants to see the people of Israel safe, prosperous and secure for the long term, not living under threat.

"But there are attempts to stipulate that a requirement for unadulterated loyalty to the Netanyahu government is what looks like friendship."

That appears to be the definition of antisemitism which Labour leader Keir Starmer (below) subscribes to. He has been notably silent this week, a dreadful moral cowardice and failure of leadership from the man who seeks to become the next British prime minister.

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during the Labour Party local elections campaign launch in March (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

All that Labour have done is to call on the Conservative government to release its legal advice and will only call for a halt to arms sales if that legal advice shows that the UK would be in breach of international law if it continues to arm Israel. That's Labour's principled position for you: "We'll only take action if the Tories do so first." What is the point of Keir Starmer?

The intervention from Kearns greatly increases the pressure on Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to take action.

Labour's Scottish branch manager has clearly had enough of his boss's policy of appeasement towards a far-right Israeli government hell-bent on committing genocide in Gaza and has finally broken his silence a week after the Scottish Government and the SNP called for a halt to arms sales to Israel. Anas Sarwar has broken from the UK Labour position and is now saying that he believes Israel has clearly breached international law and that weapons exports should cease.

Sarwar (below) added: "It is absolutely clear that if there are breaches of international humanitarian law, there should not be sales of arms to Israel. These legal experts have made it clear that they believe there are clear breaches of international humanitarian law."

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has taken a firmer line on Israeli arms exports than the UK

However, when asked if he would recommend Starmer and UK Labour take the same position, Sarwar did not say he would be pressuring them to do so. So, it's all just so much-belated gums-bumping from the branch office manager.


MICHAEL Gove has admitted that he was guilty of “moral cowardice” during the 2016 EU referendum. He was a prominent advocate for the mendacious Leave campaign.

However, Gove’s conscience is bothering him only because he was not honest with then prime minister David Cameron about the extent to which he would be involved in campaigning against Cameron's own position and not because the entire Leave campaign was a collection of lies and falsehoods enthusiastically propagated by Michael Gove. 

Speaking on the Political Currency podcast with George Osborne and Ed Balls, Gove also insisted that no UK prime minister should "ever have a referendum on anything" again.

Gove said that referendums only create divisions and as such end up creating far more problems than they resolve in and of themselves. However, that is because the victors of those referendums, like a certain Michael Gove, use even the most narrow of victories as an excuse to do whatever they like and rub the losers' noses in it while feeling no obligation whatsoever to uphold the promises and commitments they made in order to win the referendum campaign. That is what creates bitterness and division, not a democratic event.