Luton MPs resign from shadow cabinet over Labour's stance on Gaza ceasefire
Luton MPs Sarah Owen and Rachel Hopkins have resigned from their roles in Labour’s shadow cabinet after voting in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza.
The news came last night (November 15) after 56 Labour MPs voted for in favour of a motion, amended by the SNP, that called for an end to the "collective punishment of the Palestinian people" and urged "all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire".
Rachel Hopkins and Sarah Owen have been approached for comment.
In a joint statement, the MPs tweeted last night: “Today we voted for an amendment to the King's Speech calling for a ceasefire on all sides, to see the immediate end to violence against innocent civilians, the release of hostages and the vital access of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
"These calls are reflected by the overwhelming majority of the British public and respected organisations such as the UN, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, Islamic Relief and faith leaders ranging from the Pope to our local mosque leaders.
"We have worked every parliamentary avenue on these aims and have voted with our conscience, which is a feeling we share with our diverse town and constituents who want to see peace across the Middle East.”
The motion was defeated by 125 votes to 294, with ten Labour frontbenchers standing down from their roles over the vote – including Jess Phillips, Afzal Khan and Yasmin Qureshi. Kier Starmer has faced much backlash over his decision not to call for a ceasefire amid the Israel-Gaza conflict.
On X, Luton Community Action said: “This evening, 125 MPs voted to support the Scottish National Party's motion for a ceasefire. Amongst them were Luton South MP Rachel Hopkins and Luton North MP Sarah Owen.
“We welcome the fact that they have finally listened to their constituents. It is, however, deeply disappointing that it has taken over five weeks, nearly 12,000 people killed by Israeli Occupation Forces, including more than 4,500 children for us to reach this point.
“We hope that both our MPs will now use their powers to assert a change in direction from their party leadership who are yet to call for ceasefire.”