Home Featured Rishi Sunak fires government aide Paul Bristow over call for Israel-Hamas cease-fire
Rishi Sunak fires government aide Paul Bristow over call for Israel-Hamas cease-fire

Rishi Sunak fires government aide Paul Bristow over call for Israel-Hamas cease-fire

by host

LONDON — Rishi Sunak sacked a government aide for demanding a “permanent” cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas.

The Conservative MP Paul Bristow — who until Monday afternoon served as Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan’s parliamentary private secretary — broke ranks with the prime minister to call for a cease-fire as he warned against “collective punishment” of the people of Gaza “for the crimes of Hamas.”

In a letter sent to Sunak last week, Bristow had urged the PM to urge a “permanent cease-fire” to “save lives and allow for a continued column of humanitarian aid [to] reach the people who need it the most.” The letter was reported by the Daily Telegraph newspaper Monday.

While the U.K. government has called for humanitarian “pauses” to the conflict, Sunak has short of calling for a full cease-fire, pointing to continued bombing by Hamas from Gaza into Israel.

“Paul Bristow has been asked to leave his post in government following comments that were not consistent with the principles of collective responsibility,” a Downing Street spokesperson said Monday afternoon.

Bristow is the first frontbencher in either the government or opposition Labour Party to be fired for diverging from the respective leadership’s line on the conflict.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has come under pressure from his own front-bench on the issue, after he backed Sunak’s position — also endorsed by the U.S. and EU — of calling for humanitarian “pauses” in the conflict, rather than a cease-fire.

More than a dozen Labour frontbenchers — as well as a host of regional leaders — have defied Starmer so far. A Labour official — granted anonymity to discuss party management — told POLITICO London Playbook Starmer isn’t planning to sack frontbenchers who have strayed from the party line.

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