Sir Keir Starmer suffered a major rebellion in a Commons vote calling for a ceasefire in Gaza tonight – and York’s Labour MP was one of those who defied him.
Four shadow ministers – Jess Phillips, Yasmin Qureshi, Afzal Khan and Paula Barker – quit after deciding to support an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech backing a ceasefire.
Altogether 56 Labour MPs went against their leader’s wishes – and Rachael Maskell, the MP for York Central, was one of them.
Labour MPs had been ordered to abstain on the SNP move and were told instead to back Sir Keir’s position calling for longer “humanitarian pauses” rather than a ceasefire.
Rachel Hopkins, Sarah Owen, Naz Shah and Andy Slaughter have also left the Labour frontbench after breaking the party whip to back the amendment.
Ms Maskell said after the vote on X: “Tonight I voted for a ceasefire… we cannot have another Palestinian or Israeli lose their life.
“There has been too much blood spilt, too much pain and too many tears. Let us do everything we can to build the peace.”
In a statement following the vote, Sir Keir said he regretted that party colleagues had not backed his position.
“Alongside leaders around the world, I have called throughout for adherence to international law, for humanitarian pauses to allow access for aid, food, water, utilities and medicine, and have expressed our concerns at the scale of civilian casualties.
“Much more needs to be done in this regard to ease the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Gaza.
“And in addition to addressing the present, every leader has a duty not to go back to a failed strategy of containment and neglect, but to forge a better and more secure future for both Palestinians and Israelis.
“I regret that some colleagues felt unable to support the position tonight. But I wanted to be clear about where I stood, and where I will stand.”