Targeting MPs and their families with death threats, intimidation and vile abuse for failing to back an SNP vote on a ceasefire in Gaza is totally unacceptable
London – 19 November 2023
The Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury and other faith leaders across the globe, including Sikh organisations have called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as well as heads of state like Emmanuel Macron. They disagree with the current line taken by the UK Government, Labour leadership and other world leaders refusing to back a ceasefire.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“Whilst we disagree and are disappointed with the UK Government, Labour leadership and world leaders refusing to back a ceasefire we unequivocally condemn those who have resorted to death threats, intimidation and vile abuse that oversteps the mark against UK MPs.”
“We deplore threats of violence and abuse of their staff and are deeply concerned that MPs also fear for the safety of their families, including young children who are shamefully being threatened.”
“Disagreeing and raising your voice in protest against your MP is your democratic right, but pressure that turns into threats of violence or death threats are totally unacceptable.”
“Intimidation that becomes overly abusive and threatening is a crime and utterly deplorable. Perpetrators of criminal or disorderly behaviour or behaviour that causes fear and intimidation should be arrested and prosecuted.”
Labour MPs in particular, including some of those supporting a ceasefire have faced terrible hate and threats, including vandalism. The Labour leadership’s current position is to call for longer “humanitarian pauses” and for Israel to “protect hospitals” and end the “siege” on water, food and other essentials into Gaza. On Wednesday the Labour leadership therefore decided to abstain from an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech backing a ceasefire in Gaza.
The Labour Party is going through emotional turmoil and is divided down the middle on a ceasefire. 56 Labour MPs, including 10 shadow ministers and parliamentary aides, defying the party whip voted in favour of the SNP amendment. Dozens of other Labour MPs followed party discipline and abstained during the vote, but are also supportive of a ceasefire.
Many Western governments are coming under pressure to back a ceasefire in Gaza – with France and Ireland having already done so. Global opinion is gradually shifting against Israel. However, intimidation or threats of violence against elected representatives will be counter-productive.
Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)