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Labour MP apologises after saying PM has ‘blood on hands’ over Israel-Gaza war

Labour MP Tahir Ali has apologised after accusing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of having ‘the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands’ over his response to the Israel-Gaza war (Richard Townshend/UK Parliament/PA)
Labour MP Tahir Ali has apologised after accusing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of having ‘the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands’ over his response to the Israel-Gaza war (Richard Townshend/UK Parliament/PA)

A Labour MP has apologised after accusing Rishi Sunak of having “the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands” over his response to the Israel-Gaza war.

Tahir Ali, MP for Birmingham Hall Green, made the claim during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

The Labour leadership quickly distanced itself from Mr Ali’s initial comments, with a party spokesman branding them “clearly inappropriate”.

Mr Ali then issued a statement on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, apologising for his description of the Prime Minister, and recognising the “responsibility to be respectful in the language that we use”.

In the Commons, Mr Ali had said: “Recently released documents reveal that the Foreign Office had serious concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law and its ongoing assault on Gaza.

“This assessment was hidden from Parliament whilst the Prime Minister boldly stated his confidence in Israel’s respect for international law.

“Since then, the scale of Israel’s war crimes in Gaza have been revealed to the world thanks to South Africa’s case to the ICJ (International Court of Justice).

“Therefore, is it now not the time for the Prime Minister to admit that he has the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands and for him to commit to demanding an immediate ceasefire and an ending of UK’s arms trade with Israel?”

Mr Sunak said: “That’s the face of the changed Labour Party.”

The Prime Minister’s words were met with loud approval from his backbenchers.

Asked later about the remarks, a Labour spokesman said: “That language is clearly inappropriate and not language we would support or endorse or believe should be used.”

Prime Minister’s Questions
Tahir Ali MP accused the Prime Minister of having the ‘blood of thousands of innocents on his hands’ over his response to the Israel-Gaza war (House of Commons/PA)

Writing on X, Mr Ali said: “Earlier at PMQs I asked the Prime Minister about the actions of Israel in Gaza. This is obviously a deeply emotive issue.

“While I do not resile from my strongly held views on the situation in the Middle East, I would like to apologise for the way in which I described the Prime Minister in my question.

“We all have a responsibility to be respectful in the language that we use, even when discussing difficult and, at times, sensitive issues.”

The Guardian reported last week that an internal Foreign Office assessment, after reviewing a report from Amnesty International, initially concluded it had “serious concerns” about Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The assessment related to a decision on whether to revoke arms export licences to Israel.

The newspaper reported that an internal Government assessment unit then concluded it did not have sufficient information to decide on compliance and left the decision to ministers, with Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron ultimately advising against revoking arms export licences and instead saying the situation should be kept under review.

Lord Cameron reportedly said there was “good evidence to support a judgment that Israel is committed to complying with IHL (international humanitarian law)”.