King’s Speech: Sultana files ceasefire amendment as Labour tensions grow

Morgan Jones
Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

Good morning. Yesterday’s King’s Speech was widely criticised as laying out a thin and short termist agenda, setting terms for the forthcoming general election rather than making the long-term decisions Rishi Sunak’s been talking a big game about of late. All this provides an opportunity for Labour to make hay at the expense of the government in today’s King’s Speech debate. Labour will warn of a “lost generation” of children missing from British schools due to persistent and unchecked absence, and highlight that it is they, not the government, who have the long-term plan to fix this.

However, the business of parliament (and, more importantly, the business of the government having a terrible time) has been this morning somewhat overshadowed by the resignation of frontbencher Imran Hussain. The Bradford East MP became the first shadow minister to resign over his support for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza when he announced his plans to quit late last night. Our editor Tom has a full write-up here, and Labour’s response.

Hussain, who won his seat from the Liberal Democrats in 2015, is on the left of the party. He was also Labour’s candidate in the Bradford West by-election in 2012, when he lost to George Galloway, an electoral experience one imagines may have factored into his latest decision.

Further frontbench resignations do not seem out of the question, given the large number of MPs, both front and backbench, who have deviated from the party line (we have a rolling list here). The Independent‘s John Rentoul points out that Hussain was one of four members of the Socialist Campaign Group on the frontbench, the others being Paula Barker, Navendu Mishra, and Rachel Hopkins, all of whom have indicated support for a ceasefire.

It has been reported that the SNP are considering forcing a vote on a ceasefire, and this morning, we have the news that Zarah Sultana will be tabling an amendment to the King’s Speech in support of an “immediate ceasefire” to “protect civilians in Israel and Palestine”, which could potentially be subject to a parliamentary vote next Wednesday. The Coventry South MP’s amendment has been supported by Labour figures including Rosena Allin-Khan, John McDonnell and Nadia Whittome, along with the SDLP’s Claire Hanna and MPs from other parties.

TUC announce special congress

The TUC will hold a special congress on how to tackle the Conservative crackdown on the right to strike on December 9th. This will be the first such congress since 1982, when the unions gathered to discuss Margaret Thatcher’s anti-union legislation. It follows an RMT and NASUWT motion carried at this year’s annual Congress on how unions should resist minimum service levels legislation. The motion also demanded the building of “coalitions” to campaign for “non-compliance”, the precise meaning and limits of which will, I imagine, be the subject of some discussion in December.

In other Labour news…

WELLINGBOROUGH BY-ELECTION: The recall petition triggered by the suspension of Wellingborough MP Peter Bone opens today at 9am. Applications to be Labour’s candidate have closed, and one source tells LabourList longlist interviews are this evening.

TEES VALLEY: Darlington council deputy leader Chris McEwan has been picked as Labour’s candidate for next May’s mayoral elections. He’ll challenge Conservative incumbent Ben Houchen. I have a full write-up here.

BURNLEY: On Monday, our email focused on the news of the resignation from Labour of 11 councillors in Burnley, including the council leader. The Lancashire Telegraph reports this morning that the Labour group will continue to back the now-independent council leader, who will remain in post (Lancashire Telegraph).

Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

More from LabourList


We provide our content free, but good journalism costs money. Small monthly donations from readers like you keep us going. To those already donating: thank you.
If you can afford it, can you join our supporters giving £5 or £10 a month?

And if you’re not already reading the best daily round-up of Labour news, analysis and comment…