Alan Whitehead MP

Member of Parliament for Southampton Test

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Today I will be voting to urge the Government to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel. 

 

Bz1d0cTIMAIpByD.jpgThis motion reflects my support for the principle of recognition of Palestinian statehood and my view that such statehood is not a gift to be given but a right to be recognised. Therefore, I am glad that since 2011, Labour has supported Palestinian recognition at the United Nations.

I fully support two states living side by side in peace, and recognised by all of their neighbours and it is clear that the events of recent months only underline the dangers for both Palestinians and Israelis of a resumption of violence and bloodshed.

We should be clear that this conflict and an eventual two state settlement will only be resolved through negotiation. However, after decades of diplomatic failure there are those on all sides that today question whether a two-state solution is any longer possible.

That is why I believe that, amidst the undoubted despair and the disappointment, the international community must take concrete steps to strengthen moderate Palestinian opinion, encourage the Palestinians to advance along the path of politics and rekindle hopes that there is a credible route to a viable Palestinian state and a secure Israel achieved by negotiations.

We must be clear that Palestinian recognition at the UN would be such a step. That is why Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary, called on the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in 2011 and in 2012 to commit Britain to supporting the Palestinians' bid for recognition at the UN, not a means of bypassing the need for talks, but as a bridge for restarting them. This would be based on a reality that Israel would no longer be able to claim that its actions were a matter of internal security but of an approach to an independent and recognised state.

There is a strong case for the recognition of a Palestinian state, and I believe that the British Government should be willing to support the recognition of Palestinian statehood. This is an integral part of working towards a two state solution. It is also vitally important that any change in the level of Palestinian recognition is followed by meaningful negotiations between Israel and Palestine.  

Recognising Palestine

Today I will be voting to urge the Government to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.   

calendar.jpgFind out what Alan is up to this week.

Monday 13th – Sunday 19th October 2014

• Monday – Meeting of Southern Labour MPs. Labour Party event.
• Tuesday – Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and Standards Select Committee meetings. PRASEG AGM. Environmental Audit Select Committee meeting. APPG for Sixth Form Colleges meeting. Meeting with the Royal College of GPs regarding patient-centred care in the NHS and in Southampton. Hampshire and Isle of Wight 6th Form Principals' event.
• Wednesday – Energy and Climate Change Select Committee meeting. USDAW Respect for Shopworkers Campaign event. PMQs. Environmental Audit Select Committee workshop. Diwali event.
• Thursday – Power 2020 Policy Forum regarding the UK’s energy mix and decarbonisation targets. Meeting with Sedgemoor District Council regarding Hinkley Point. Meeting with Vergnet regarding the medium wind sector. Meeting with the Combined Heat and Power Association regarding energy efficiency and local energy supply. Southampton Labour Party meeting.
• Friday – Meeting residents in Bevois. Meeting with Selex regarding the LV Distribution Network. Second constituency advice surgery of the month. Speaking and doing Q & A at Southampton University Student Union open meeting regarding the General Election.
• Saturday and Sunday - Energy and Climate Change Select Committee visit.

This week's diary

Find out what Alan is up to this week.

As you are no doubt aware, on Friday Parliament voted on whether to approve air strikes against IS militants in Iraq. 

Over the past few months we have seen what a brutal and murderous regime IS is. Despite their title they are neither Islamic nor a state. They are a group of international pirates, making claims about the justification for their actions through Islam that are repudiated by Muslims across the world.  Their campaign of atrocities against people of all religions and nationalities has shocked us all. They are a hated and barbarous group committing atrocities against Muslims, Christians and other faiths in equal measure and employing abduction and sale of women, mass executions and ethnic cleansing as routine elements of their military activity.

The threat from IS cannot be ignored because of their barbaric actions and because their inherent expansionist ideology represents a real threat, not just to the region, but to global security.

Following a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, The Government of Iraq has formally asked the UK to join international efforts to strike IS sites and military strongholds to end the continuing attacks on Iraq, and to protect Iraqi citizens. It is therefore right that the UK now joins other nations in air strikes against ISIL extremists in Iraq.

In 2003 I opposed the Iraq war as I am of the view that military action against a sovereign state should always be used as a last resort and not unless all other means of action have been exhausted. On this occasion there is no sovereign state involved. On the contrary a sovereign state is at threat. And it is absolutely clear that negotiation with IS is not an option.

Therefore my support for the Government’s proposed military action is based on the same criteria that Labour has set out to Parliament in the past, including in 2011 over Libya: that proposed military action is a last resort; is proportional; has a reasonable prospect of success; a legal base; broad regional support; and is a just cause.

The motion passed today in the House of Commons severely limits the level of military action which can be undertaken by UK forces. The government is not proposing that any military action within Syria will be undertaken. If the Government was to subsequently propose UK Military action in Syria this would require the Government to seek endorsement from the House of Commons in a separate motion. I would also urge that before any military action takes place in Syria that a Resolution would have to be passed by the UN Security Council.

I also accept that air strikes in themselves are not solutions to the existence of IS. Air strikes have and may curtail the advancement of the group and provide the ability for regional organisations and bodies to both defend themselves and to recover territory from IS. Any long term solution depends on the actions of those organisations and adding troops on the ground to this mix would almost certainly make such solutions less achievable. 

Vote on air strikes against IS in Iraq

As you are no doubt aware, on Friday Parliament voted on whether to approve air strikes against IS militants in Iraq. 


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