Labor needs to rebuild trust with Muslim voters, senior MP says

Labour’s deputy campaign co-ordinator said the party needed to rebuild trust with Muslim voters amid an apparent backlash over its stance on Gaza.

The party’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war appears to have reduced its support in Muslim areas in England’s local elections.

Labour’s Ellie Reeves admitted there was “much work to do” to rebuild support before the general election.

He added that this includes making sure voters “understand our position.”

In the 58 council wards analyzed by the BBC, where more than one in five residents identify as Muslim, Labor’s vote share was 21% higher than in 2021, when the majority of seats were last contested. Diminished.

This was a downside to Labor’s otherwise strong performance, gaining more than 170 MPs and taking control of eight parliaments.

The potential impact on the general election is unclear, but some evidence suggests that the biggest declines in support were mainly confined to regions where the party’s support was already very strong.

And there are signs that any side effects were less pronounced in London, where the incumbent Labor mayor was Sadiq Khan. called for a ceasefire before the party leadership does so.

In parts of London where more than 15% of people identify as Muslim, Labor’s turnout increased by an average of 3 percentage points, compared to 4.5% in areas where fewer people identify as Muslim. It becomes.

labor called for an immediate ceasefire The Gaza conflict broke out in February after months of dispute over its position.

His initial post-war stance calling for a moratorium on humanitarian fighting prompted Labor’s resignation from parliament and the front line last year.

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The decline in vote share in areas with large Muslim populations appears to have primarily favored independent candidates standing in those areas.

Ali Milani, chairman of the Labor Party’s Muslim Network, said Labor’s position on Gaza “will have a significant impact on the election”.

“If I were a Labor MP in Bradford, Birmingham, Leicester or parts of London or Manchester, I would be seriously concerned,” he added.

Green Party calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’ It’s only been a week since the war startedthe vote share has increased from 2021.

Co-leader Carla Denyer said Labour’s stance on the conflict was the “last straw” for some Labor supporters who were already disappointed with policy shifts in other areas.

“I met many voters on their doorstep who were actively raising this as an issue,” she added.

He also said “a switch of votes by some in the Muslim community” in Newcastle, where the Green Party won its first city council seat, was also a factor.

On Sunday, recently re-elected Worthing councilor and Momentum co-chair Hilary Shan resigned from the Labor Party to support a pro-Palestinian candidate from another party, joining journalist Owen Jones’ ‘We Deserve Better’ campaign. did.

“Please listen a lot.”

“We know there is a lot of work to do to rebuild trust with Muslim communities,” Ellie Reeves told BBC Breakfast on Saturday.

“We understand that people are concerned about what is happening in Gaza. The loss of life there is intolerable and that is why we have called for an immediate ceasefire.”

“We need a lot of listening,” he said, adding that the party also needed to make sure voters “understood our position.”

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national elections co-ordinator, echoed her sentiments, saying on the BBC’s Sunday program Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that if Labor were elected, the situation in the Middle East would be a “top foreign policy priority” for Labour. “It will be a matter of concern,” he said.

“The better life that people want for the Palestinian people is one that the Labor Party leadership shares,” he said.

He acknowledged that conflict was a problem for Labor in some parts of the country, saying: “There are people who may have voted Labor in the past but are not voting in local elections because of this issue. , where is it?” In some cases, we will work to regain people’s support. ”

In the West Midlands mayoral election, independent candidate Ahmed Yacoub, who campaigned in the Gaza Strip, received more than 69,000 votes.

In Darwen’s Blackburn, Labor lost a parliamentary seat to an independent candidate who left the party because of the attitude of the Gaza leadership.

It also faces growing support from pro-Palestinian independents in Bradford, where the Labor council leader said Gaza was a “huge issue”.

Local party leaders in Oldham said Labor tensions were a factor there. lost overall control of the councilbut also blamed the wider misfortunes of the ‘mainstream parties’.

George Galloway’s pro-Palestinian British Labor Party won four seats – two in Rochdale, one in Calderdale and one in Manchester – where it ousted Rusfer Rahman, Labor deputy leader.

Israel launched a military operation to annihilate Hamas in the Gaza Strip after Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,200 deaths and 253 hostages.

More than 34,500 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the Hamas-controlled region’s health ministry.

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