Labour is losing ground among British Muslims amid Gaza genocide

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer’s position on Palestine is causing flocks of British Muslims to leave the Labour Party

Advertise on TMV

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer’s position on Palestine is causing flocks of British Muslims to leave the Labour Party

A recent survey has shown a drop in British Muslim backing for the Labour Party ahead of the forthcoming general election in the UK.

The survey, conducted by The Labour Muslim Network in partnership with Survation via telephone interviews from 18 January to 3 February 2024, revealed significant shifts in British Muslim opinion. 

Notably, 70% considered the Israel-Palestine issue stance of political leaders very important for their voting decisions.

Favourability ratings for Labour and Conservative parties and political figures like Keir Starmer also shifted.

Indeed, The Labour Muslim Network expressed concern over the deteriorating relationship between British Muslims and the Labour Party, citing the party’s response to the Gaza crisis as a critical factor. 

Sir Keir Starmer’s stance over Gaza 

Sir Keir Starmer has defended his choice not to support a Gaza ceasefire multiple times while denying that the Israel-Palestine issue is causing division within Labour.

When asked by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari on 11 October whether Israel had the right to respond to the Hamas attacks of 7 October, Starmer replied: “I think that Israel does have that right. It is an ongoing situation.” He added: “Obviously, everything should be done within international law.”

The Labour Party has a long history of divisions on international issues, and the war in Gaza was no exception. Last November, 56 198 Labour MPs needed to follow their party’s instructions. They voted for an “immediate ceasefire,” while their leader, Keir Starmer, called for simple “humanitarian pauses” as part of the amendment tabled by the independent Scottish National Party (SNP).

Keir Starmer, who has methodically restored the unity of the party over the past three years and is already dreaming of being in Downing Street after the 2024 general elections, is accused by many elected officials of the Muslim faith and Labour representatives of having seriously lacked compassion for the Palestinians and unconditionally supported Israel.

After suspending Rochdale by-election candidate Azhar Ali, who accused Israel of having voluntarily let Hamas carry out its deadly attack on 7 October, Sir Keir assured on Tuesday, 13 February, that Labour is a changed party.

Azhar Ali was Labour’s candidate for the 29 February by-election in Rochdale, northwest England. The election aims to replace MP Tony Lloyd, who passed away last month.

“New information emerged yesterday (Monday 12 February) requiring decisive action, so I have taken decisive action,” Keir Starmer told British television on 13 February. 

He spoke of a “difficult decision” and a “necessary one, “but when I say that Labour has changed under my leadership, I am serious,” he insisted. After initially supporting Azhar Ali, who later apologised, the Labour Party dropped him on Monday evening after new elements emerged.

However, during a Scottish Labour Party conference in Glasgow, Sir Keir Starmer chose to back a ceasefire that lasts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The opposition leader’s comments came after the Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip from ongoing Israeli attacks has risen to 32,552, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, as of 28 March.

“I have just returned from the Munich security conference, where every conversation I had came back to the situation in Israel and Gaza and the question of what we can do practically to deliver what we all want to see – a return of all the hostages taken on 7 October, an end to the killing of innocent Palestinians, a huge scaling-up of humanitarian relief and an end to the fighting,” Starmer said.

“What we all want to see … [is] an end to the fighting not just now, not just for a pause, but permanently. A ceasefire that lasts…that is what must happen now.”

According to the political forecasting website Electoral Calculus, the Labour Party may be on course for a 200+ majority.

With a government that broadly supports Israel by continuously selling arms and sharing intelligence with Israeli authorities, it leaves no place for the Muslim community, who were formerly loyal supporters of the Labour Party, to be represented in the next general election.

In the UK, 20 constituencies have over 30% Muslim electorates, all elected Labour MPs in 2019. 

Although Keir Starmer’s constituency, Holborn and St Pancras, has an almost 19% Muslim electorate, he is concerned about Labour’s ability to win seats with high Muslim populations after Rochdale’s outcome.

Indeed, while Labour currently holds 199 seats in the House of Commons, it faces the challenge of reaching the majority of 326 MPs. 

Recent Starmer’s stance on Gaza may reduce his electoral chances to win Muslim votes.

Jalisa, a Palestinian-Spanish woman based in London, used to vote for Labour. In light of recent events in Gaza, she told The Muslim Vibe that she will not vote in the General Elections.

“Labour used to be a lesser evil compared to the Tories. Now Labour is worse than the Tories as they have lost every link with reality and what Labour means and stands for,” she explains.

“I respect the Tory party more for being more consistent with their ideological line, whilst Labour swifts their ideology as of when,” she added.

Jalisa would only vote if there were a suitable electoral and ideological representation for the left in the UK. 

The young Palestinian-Spanish woman accuses Keir Starmer of being a “war crime apologist” as he has not been able to openly condemn civilian deaths, international law abuses and war crimes in Gaza.

“UK politicians have been the first promoters of the Zionist project, just for electoral purposes”, she says. “Nowadays, UK politicians stand by Israel just due to corruption as it is proven that both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer have business and personal interests in supporting Israel by selling a steady flow of weapons to Israel,” she explains.

Jalisa asserts that Rishi Sunak’s wife is actively getting a high ROI on her dad’s investment in Elbit Systems, which is the largest Israeli military manufacturer. The tech company produces 85% of the Israel Defense Force’s land-based equipment, including drones.

She argues, “It’s a personal and business choice. Consequently, UK politicians are corrupt and should be held accountable.”



Advertise on TMV