General Election 2024: The Labour MPs Who Oppose Israel’s Genocide in Gaza, and Those Who Support It

A protest against Labour leader Keir Starmer, as he made speech at Chatham House in London in October 2023 (Photo: Guy Smallman).

Please support my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist, commentator and activist. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

Ever since Rishi Sunak announced that a General Election would take place on July 4, some commentators have been suggesting that those of us who are implacably opposed to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza — as all decent people should be — should boycott the Labour Party entirely, because of the unconditional support for Israel demonstrated by Keir Starmer and key members of his shadow cabinet.

Starmer, shamefully, told LBC on October 11 that Israel had “the right” to withhold power and water from Gaza, while claiming that, “Obviously, everything should be done within international law”, even though, as a former human rights lawyer, he must have known that international law prohibits withholding power and water from a civilian population, because it is collective punishment, and a war crime under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which entered into force in October 1950.

Emily Thornberry and David Lammy were also criticised for statements they made in the first week of Israel’s ultra-violent response to the deadly attacks by Hamas and other militants on October 7, and were all included in “a notice of intention to prosecute UK politicians for their role in aiding and abetting Israel’s perpetration of war crimes”, issued on October 16 by the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), “an independent organisation of lawyers, politicians and academics who support the rights of Palestinians and aim to protect their rights through the law.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating Eight Years Since the Release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the Last British Resident in the Prison

Shaker Aamer and Andy Worthington in July 2016.

Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

Eight years ago today, I was awoken in the morning, while it was still dark, by a phone call from my friend and colleague Joanne MacInnes, telling me that she was at Biggin Hill airport, where Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, was arriving by plane, a free man after nearly 14 years in US custody, almost all of it spent without charge or trial at Guantánamo, where he was regularly held in solitary confinement, and where he railed relentlessly against the injustice of his imprisonment.

It was the cumulation of over nine years, on my part, of writing about and campaigning for Shaker’s release, which began in 2006 when I was researching my book The Guantánamo Files, in which I told, for the first time, the stories of around 450 of the 779 men held at Guantánamo by the US military since the prison opened in January 2002, and noted that Shaker was an “enormously charismatic figure”, who, as a result, was regarded with great suspicion by the authorities.

After I completed the manuscript for the book in May 2007, one of the first events about Guantánamo that I attended was ‘Shaker Aamer, A South London Man in Guantánamo: The Children Speak’, held in south London on June 29, 2007, at which Shaker’s daughter Johina, then nine years old, spoke, as did Marium Begg, the daughter of Shaker’s friend Moazzam Begg, also held in Guantánamo, who had been released in January 2005.

Read the rest of this entry »

Photos and Report: Guantánamo in the UK – A New Parliamentary Group Meets, and Mohamedou Ould Slahi Visits

Photos from the Guantánamo events in the UK from April 24-28,2023, featuring Mohamedou Ould Slahi and Steve Wood: the APPG in Parliament, and screenings of ‘The Mauritanian’ in Buckinghamshire and Brighton.

Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

Last week was a big week for Guantánamo activism in the UK, as the inaugural meeting of the brand-new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Closing the Guantánamo Detention Facility took place in the Houses of Parliament, attended by former prisoner and best-selling author Mohamedou Ould Slahi and his former guard Steve Wood, who then, in the following days, attended three screenings of ‘The Mauritanian’, Kevin Macdonald’s feature film about Mohamedou, followed by Q&A sessions in which I was also involved.

The inaugural meeting of the APPG was attended by six MPs and peers — Chris Law (SNP), who chaired the meeting, and is the co-chair of the APPG, John McDonnell (Lab.), Baroness Helena Kennedy (Lab.), Sir Peter Bottomley (Con.), Richard Burgon (Lab.) and Rachael Maskell (Lab.).

Layla Moran (Lib Dem) is the other co-chair of the APPG, but was unable to attend because of other pressing commitments, although her assistant Emilia Harvey was there to represent her. All were voted in as officers of the APPG.

Read the rest of this entry »

Videos: Speeches at the Close Guantánamo Protest in London, Jan. 8, 2022, Including Andy Worthington and John McDonnell MP

Screenshots from videos of Andy Worthington and John McDonnell MP speaking at a rally in Trafalgar Square calling for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay on January 8, 2022.

Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

Back in January, campaigners in the UK, calling for the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, put up with torrential rain while marching from Parliament to Trafalgar Square, where a rally was held, with speakers including John McDonnell MP and myself, calling for the closure of the prison just days before the 20th anniversary of its opening on January 11.

The protest was coordinated via the Guantánamo Network, a coalition of concerned groups including Amnesty International, Close Guantánamo, Freedom From Torture, the Guantánamo Justice Campaign and the London Guantánamo Campaign, and it was also attended by a number of Julian Assange supporters. Particular thanks are due to Sara Birch, the Guantánamo Network’s convenor, who is part of the Lewes Amnesty Group, and “under whose energetic leadership”, as I have previously explained, “Lewes has become something of an epicentre for Guantánamo activism.”

39 campaigners, hooded and dressed in orange jumpsuits, represented the men still held in the prison at the time, and, despite the rain, created an eye-catching protest, as I recorded in photos I took on the day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Photos and Report: The Wet But Spirited Close Guantánamo Protest in London, Jan. 8, 2022, and an Online Gathering of Former Prisoners

Campaigners across the road from 10 Downing Street during the Guantánamo Network’s march and rally against the continued existence of Guantánamo on Jan. 8, 2022 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.





 

It would be hard to imagine more challenging weather conditions than the torrential rain that dogged a protest against the continued existence of Guantánamo in central London yesterday, marking the 20th anniversary of the opening of the prison in two days’ time.

39 campaigners in orange jumpsuits and hoods — representing the 39 men still held — marched in solemn procession from the Houses of Parliament, around Parliament Square and up Whitehall, stopping opposite 10 Downing Street, and ending up at Trafalgar Square. Each campaigner carried a laminated sheet featuring a photo of one of the prisoners, as well as their name and nationality.

The protest was organised by the Guantánamo Network, a coalition of groups that includes members of various Amnesty International groups, myself as the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign, two long-running London-based Guantánamo groups (the Guantánamo Justice Campaign and the London Guantánamo Campaign), and Freedom From Torture. Particular thanks are due to Sara Birch, the Guantánamo Network’s convenor, who is part of the Lewes Amnesty Group — and under whose energetic leadership Lewes has become something of an epicentre for Guantánamo activism.

Read the rest of this entry »

After Nine Years of Austerity, and to Save the NHS, Please, Please, Please Vote the Tories Out!

The photo of four-year old Jack Williment-Barr, with suspected pneumonia, sleeping on the floor of Leeds General Infirmary, which has focused attention on Tory cuts to the NHS. The photo was featured in a Yorkshire Evening Post article, and was then included in a front-page article in the Daily Mirror.

Please support my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist, commentator and activist. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal. I’m currently trying to raise £2,000 ($2,500) to enable me to continue working as a genuinely independent journalist and commentator over the next three months.




 

I haven’t, to date, waded into the fray regarding tomorrow’s General Election in the UK, in large part because I am so profoundly dismayed that we still have such an antiquated voting system — first past the post — that massively favours the Tories, and, to a lesser extent, Labour, at the expense of all the other parties, and in part because, in the echo chamber world created by the tech companies’ cynical and divisive algorithms, I’m bound to be preaching to the converted.

However, I don’t want tomorrow’s polling to take place without throwing a few thoughts your way, so here’s my gambit: if you live in a constituency where the race is tight, please vote wisely to get the Tories out. This means that, whoever is the closest challenger to the Tories should get your vote, whether that is Labour or the Liberal Democrats.

If our opposition politicians were truly grown-up, they would have stood aside for each other in closely-contested constituencies where a divided vote will do nothing except return the Tories to power, and they would have spelled out to voters how the main drive of this election needs to be to make sure that the Tories, led by the execrable Boris Johnson, are removed from power. However, a pact hasn’t materialised, because politicians tend to be idiotically tribal, and because far too many of them have been so conditioned by the inadequate first past the post system that they’d rather come third and allow a Tory to win than demonstrate the kind of responsibility that we, as a country, so desperately need at this perilous time.

Read the rest of this entry »

My Band The Four Fathers Launch A Year of Political Gigs in Walthamstow This Saturday, In A Protest Against Another Divisive Private Development

The poster for the occupation of Walthamstow Town Square on February 24, 2018 at which The Four Fathers are playing.Check out all The Four Fathers’ studio recordings here, and the video of our song ‘Grenfell’ here.

Kicking off a year of varied gigs — involving a healthy dose of political events and community festivals — Lewisham-based band The Four Fathers are heading to Walthamstow this Saturday, February 24, to play a few songs (including ‘London’ and ‘Fighting Injustice’) at an occupation of Walthamstow Town Square by campaigners resisting plans to redevelop the square, primarily because of their opposition to the lack of genuinely affordable housing in the planned new development, but also because of concerns about the size of the towers that are proposed for the site, and the loss of public land in the centre of the town.

Please note that I’m also attending a screening of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK‘, the new documentary film about the housing crisis, directed by Nikita Woolfe, and for which I’m the narrator, at Harmony Hall in Walthamstow at 6pm, and also staying on afterwards what I hope will be a lively post-screening Q&A session. Further details here.

The Observer picked up on the story this weekend, in large part because of Walthamstow’s proximity to Haringey, where, last month, council leader Claire Kober announced her resignation, after an extraordinary grass-roots campaign to stop the council from entering into a unprecedented £2bn deal with the international property developer Lendlease, which would have seen much of Haringey’s social housing, and other assets, put into a 50:50 development project with Lendlease, known as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV). Read the rest of this entry »

My photos of ‘Not One Day More’, a Huge Protest Against Theresa May in London, July 1, 2017

"F*ck off back to your wheat field": a great placard from the 'Not One Day More' protest against Theresa May and the Tories in London on July 1, 2017 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

See my photos on Flickr here!

Please also, if you can, consider supporting my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist and commentator.





 

Today (July 1, 2017), I cycled into central London with my son Tyler to support the ‘Not One Day More’ protest called by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, and to take photos. We caught the march on Whitehall, as the tens of thousands of protestors who had marched from BBC HQ in Portland Place advanced on Parliament Square, and it was exhilarating to stand by the Monument to the Women of World War II in the middle of Whitehall, near 10 Downing Street, as a wave of protestors advanced, chanting, “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” and “Tories, Tories, Tories, out, out, out.”

Many of the placards, understandably, dealt with the Grenfell Tower disaster two weeks ago, when an untold number of residents died in an inferno that should never have happened, but that was entirely due to the greed and exploitation of the poorer members of society that is central to the Tories’ austerity agenda, waged relentlessly over the last seven years, and the neo-liberalism — insanely, unstoppably greedy, and utterly indifferent to the value of human lives — that has been driving politics since the 1980s.

The Guardian noted, “When the march reached Parliament Square, a minute’s silence was held ‘in memory and respect’ to the victims of Grenfell Tower. Tributes were also paid to the emergency services who responded to the fire with a minute’s applause.” Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said, “To the victims of Grenfell Tower we pledge now, we will stand with you and your families all the way through. We bring you sympathy but more importantly we bring you solidarity. We will not rest until every one of those families is properly housed within the community in which they want to live. Grenfell Tower symbolised for many everything that’s gone wrong in this country since austerity was imposed upon us.” He also “slammed the Tories for praising the emergency services ‘every time there’s a tragedy’ but then cutting jobs and wages.” Read the rest of this entry »

Please Ask Your MPs to Support Caroline Lucas’s Early Day Motion Calling for the Closure of Guantánamo

Caroline Lucas MP (Green, Brighton Pavilion) supporting the We Stand With Shaker campaign in February 2015, with a poster for Valentine's Day declaring, "There is no love in Guantanamo." In March 2016, Caroline launched a new Early Day Motion calling for the closure of Guantanamo.

Contact your MP here.

Last week, Britain’s Green MP, Caroline Lucas, with the support of five other MPs, tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 1260), entitled, ‘The Closure of Guantánamo Bay,’ which states, “That this House welcomes President Obama’s latest plan to fulfil his pledge to close Guantánamo Bay by the end of his Presidency; notes that this is President Obama’s last year in office and that his first executive order in January 2009 was to close Guantánamo; further notes that a recent US Senate report recognised the systematic use of torture in Guantánamo; believes that Guantánamo is now synonymous with torture, rendition and indefinite detention, rendering it a symbol of human rights abuses; further welcomes the release and return to the UK of British resident Shaker Aamer from nearly 14 years imprisonment in Guantánamo without charge or trial, but notes that 91 prisoners remain in Guantánamo; notes that many of these have been cleared for release without charge or trial so should be released without delay; further believes that the remaining detainees should have their full human rights restored and should either be released to countries that will respect their human rights or be given a fair trial; and urges the Government to support President Obama’s effort to close Guantánamo Bay but oppose any moves simply to relocate detainees from Guantánamo to another detention facility in the US.”

This is a comprehensive synopsis of the situation at Guantánamo with just 300 days left of the Obama Presidency, as currently highlighted by the Countdown to Close Guantánamo that I launched in January with music legend Roger Waters — mentioning the 91 men still held, even though 36 of them have been approved for release, the Senate Torture Report, and of course the release of Shaker Aamer.

Caroline has persistently opposed the existence of Guantánamo, tabling Early Day Motions calling for the prison’s closure in 2010 and 2011 (EDM 1093 and EDM 2558), and she was also one of the founding members of the All-Party Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group set up by John McDonnell MP (Labour, Hayes and Harlington) in November 2014, which played a major role in securing the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo last October. Read the rest of this entry »

Call for an End to Housing Greed: Come to the National Demonstration Against the Housing Bill in London, Sun. Mar. 13

Kill the Housing Bill: a poster for th e national demonstration on Sunday March 13, 2016.Where to begin in discussing Britain’s housing crisis? Since the Labour victory in 1997 we have been disastrously misled by governments prioritising an endless housing bubble as an alternative to anything resembling an actual functioning economy. The only break in this divisive and unfair policy came after the global banking crash of 2008, but since the Tories got back into power in 2010, via a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the bubble has been back with a vengeance.

The latest phase of the revived bubble is, as is now taken for granted, promoted via interest rates that are permanently near zero, making savings appear pointless, and housing the only attractive investment — and also, of course, via the permanent wooing of foreign investors from every part of the world, who are somehow persuaded that the overpriced towers rising up everywhere in London are good value for money. With the addition of a shortage of supply, dating back to the enforced decline of social housing under Margaret Thatcher, who sold council homes but refused to allow councils to build new properties, and chronic under-investment for 30 years, it becomes possible to understand how housing is now out of reach for more and more of London’s workers — even professional couples with generous financial support from their parents.

As the Guardian reported in an article last September, “Revealed: the widening gulf between salaries and house prices”:

In 1995, the median income in London was £19,000 and the median house price was £83,000, meaning that people were spending 4.4 times their income on buying a property. But by 2012-13, the median income in London had increased to £24,600 and the median house price in the capital had increased to £300,000, meaning people were forced to spend 12.2 times their income on a house.

Read the rest of this entry »

Back to home page

Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
Email Andy Worthington

CD: Love and War

The Four Fathers on Bandcamp

The Guantánamo Files book cover

The Guantánamo Files

The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

RSS

Posts & Comments

World Wide Web Consortium

XHTML & CSS

WordPress

Powered by WordPress

Designed by Josh King-Farlow

Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist:

Archives

In Touch

Follow me on Facebook

Become a fan on Facebook

Subscribe to me on YouTubeSubscribe to me on YouTube

The State of London

The State of London. 16 photos of London

Andy's Flickr photos

Campaigns

Categories

Tag Cloud

Abu Zubaydah Al-Qaeda Andy Worthington British prisoners Center for Constitutional Rights CIA torture prisons Close Guantanamo Donald Trump Four Fathers Guantanamo Housing crisis Hunger strikes London Military Commission NHS NHS privatisation Periodic Review Boards Photos President Obama Reprieve Shaker Aamer The Four Fathers Torture UK austerity UK protest US courts Video We Stand With Shaker WikiLeaks Yemenis in Guantanamo