Sir Keir Starmer met with Labour’s Network of Parliamentary Faith Champions on Wednesday, to hear the challenges faced by their communities.
The network of religious leaders is designed to help strengthen Labour’s relationships with faith communities. It includes MPs and Peers from different religions, who either have a personal faith or who are serving large faith communities.
Sir Keir heard about foodbanks and warm spaces being provided to families who are struggling, and also listened to concerns about the challenges some faith communities in the UK are facing, with regard to the conflict in Israel and Gaza.
Speaking after meeting Labour’s Parliamentary Faith Champions, Starmer said:
“It’s clear that faith groups are a lifeblood of our local communities… contributing to picking up the pieces for those who need it most, whether that’s provision of food, warmth, shelter or advice. Those groups have the full support of my Labour Party.”
Sir Keir has faced criticism from members of his party, at both national and local levels, over his refusal to back calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Hours after the meeting, the divisions in his party were laid bare, when 8 of his top team resigned their positions on the frontbench, in order to support a vote brought by the SNP, calling for one.
56 Labour MPs voted the same way, rebelling against their leader Sir Keir Starmer, who’s calling for “humanitarian pauses” instead.
Both the Labour and the SNP votes failed to pass. Israel's embassy in London says votes in parliament rejecting a ceasefire in Gaza "shows a strong moral clarity".