Prime Minister David Cameron lost a key ally from the Asian community as Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi quits from the government, saying the British government’s policy on the crisis in Gaza is “morally indefensible”.
She wrote on her Twitter feed that she was leaving with “deep regret”.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has resigned from her Cabinet post over the Government’s stance on Gaza. Lady Warsi, daughter of a Pakistani immigrant, who was previously chairman of the Conservative Party, became the first female Muslim cabinet minister when David Cameron took office in 2010. She grew up in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and worked as a solicitor before entering politics. Her departure will affect the Conservative influence among the Asians, especially the Muslims from Pakistan.
The Opposition Labour Party welcomed her decision. Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said most “reasonably minded people across Britain will agree with the sentiments expressed” by Lady Warsi, adding: “It is a sad reflection of the prime minister’s misjudgement of the crisis in Gaza that this capable minister has felt the need to leave the government.”
Keith Vaz MP, the most influential Labour politician from the British-Asian community, said: “Baroness Warsi’s departure from the Cabinet is a loss to the Government. She was in a unique position as the country’s first woman Muslim Cabinet Minister ever. She has always been a person of principle who speaks her mind.
“Baroness Warsi is correct to point out that Britain’s foreign policy does have an effect on the diaspora community in the UK. A failure to communicate our policy and an inability to act impartially towards two distinctly opposed sides, as is the case in Gaza, provides a fertile ground for those who are on a mission to recruit and radicalise young Britons.
Many MPs have received thousands of emails calling on our Government to intervene more strongly in support of an immediate and lasting ceasefire. Her actions are a reflection of that concern.”
Last week, the Leicester East MP went to 10 Downing Street with representatives of the Federation of Muslim Organisations to present a peace flag.
Mr Vaz has spoken to the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, and the Israeli Ambassador to the UK regarding the situation in Gaza and ways of achieving peace.
“The loss of so many of lives in Gaza has moved so many people,” Mr Vaz added. Today, along with the Federation of Muslim Organisations of Leicestershire, we presented a peace flag signed by thousands of people. The flag symbolises the condemnation of violence and the support for peace, freedom and justice for all.
“I have spoken to the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who said the British Government has backed Egyptian plans for a ceasefire, and I also spoke to the Israeli Ambassador.
The international community must do all it can to provide support to ensure that the death toll does not rise further. The introduction of an immediate and lasting ceasefire in the region is essential.”
Suleman Nagdi, spokesman for the FMO said: The adjectives to describe the devastation in Gaza have been well and truly exhausted yet no amount of words can even begin to describe the unbearable hardship that the people of Gaza continue to endure. This flag, along with peaceful demonstrations up and down the country is our message to the Gazan people that we share their pain and will do whatever is in our power to highlight their plight.”